The Netherlands became the first side to book their spot in the FIFA World Cup (FWC) quarter-finals, as they comfortably defeated the United States of America 3-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium, extending their impressive unbeaten run to 19 matches.In a first-ever competitive H2H between the two nations, it was USA who started on the front foot, with Christian Pulisic seeing an early strike thwarted by the outstretched leg of Andries Noppert. Despite their bright opening, the Americans were stunned by a brilliant Dutch move in the 10th minute, which culminated in Denzel Dumfries’ pull-back being clinically swept into the bottom corner by Memphis Depay to open the scoring for the Oranje.Having never recorded a win in the FWC after conceding the opening goal (D5, L18), USA knew the importance of a positive response, but it was the Netherlands who looked the more threatening of the two sides, as Daley Blind and Depay both wasted good chances. The Dutch pressure continued to build, and eventually paid dividends on the stroke of HT, when another pinpoint delivery from Dumfries was confidently slotted home by Blind to double the Netherlands’ advantage.USA emerged after the restart eager to gain a foothold in the contest, but Pulisic saw a strike comfortably held by Noppert and Weston McKennie blazed a long-range effort wastefully over the bar. With a two-goal deficit to overturn, the Stars and Stripes continued to commit plenty of numbers forward, and were rewarded in the 76th minute, as Haji Wright clipped a fortuitous finish over Noppert and awkwardly into the net to set up a tantalising final 15 minutes.Unfettered by the USA response, the Dutch quickly restored their two-goal lead, with the influential Dumfries volleying home from Blind’s cross to ease any growing tension amongst the vocal Oranje support. With time ticking into the final five minutes, the Netherlands rearguard held firm despite the best efforts of a spirited USA attack, securing their place in the quarter-finals, where they will face the winner of the contest between Argentina and Australia.