The first half at the Al Thumama Stadium was dominated by the Netherlands, but was wasteful, and lacked threat for most of the second half, until Gakpo nodded in a deep cross on 85 minutes. Klaasen added a second in the final minute of the match to ensure that Louis van Gaal’s side made a positive start to their campaign.
The Netherlands were playing their first World Cup match since 2014, having failed to qualify for the previous edition of the tournament in Russia in 2018.
Senegal, who won the Africa Cup of Nations last year, went to Qatar with high hopes but suffered a major blow last week when star sadio mane He was ruled out of the World Cup due to a leg injury and his absence was visible.
The Netherlands dominated the first half and provided regular pressure around the Senegal penalty area, but were poor in front of goal. The Dutch side missed a great opportunity to take the lead on six minutes as Gakpo sent the ball past teammate steven bergwijnWhose attempt was blocked.
Another chance came on 18 minutes when midfielder frankie de jong Found himself in plenty of space and with just enough opposition to beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, but he took too long to get a shot away and the move was broken.
Meanwhile, Senegal looked pedestrian in attack as they missed Mane’s threat badly.
The Netherlands looked less in control in a largely lethargic second half, and Senegal enjoyed a pair of promising late chances as the Dutch goalkeeper andries knoppert – making his international debut – was forced to make a save from Idrissa Gueye, and again Ismaila Sarr,
But Netherlands found their clinical touch of late. Gakpo broke the deadlock when he met a delightful deep cross from De Jong to put the Netherlands into the lead.
Referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio signaled for eight minutes of extra time, and the Netherlands used it well as Memphis Depay’s shot forced Mendy to parry Klaasen, who provided a comfortable tap-in.