Netherlands edged nearer automatic qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a dominant 6-0 victory over Gibraltar. Memphis Depay struck a brace for the hosts, moving him past Johan Cruyff and level with Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s goal tally for the ‘Oranje’.
The hosts wasted little time in trying to emulate the 7-0 scoreline of the reverse fixture, taking the lead inside the first ten minutes. Depay’s corner picked out Virgil Van Dijk who was inexplicably unmarked to thunder his header past the goalkeeper. There was little respite for Gibraltar, as a VAR review resulted in a Dutch penalty for handball against Graeme Torilla. Shot-stopper Bradley Banda came to the rescue with a superb stop to deny Depay, but the Barcelona forward didn’t let his head drop, and was on the scoresheet just two minutes later. Some beautiful build-up play saw Davy Klaassen square the ball for Depay to tap in for his 13th Netherlands goal of 2021 – the most any Dutchman has scored in a calendar year, surpassing the previous record held by Patrick Kluivert.
There was more misery for Julio Ribas’ men as another spot-kick was given for handball, with Julian Valarino the culprit this time, and Depay made no mistake to give the Dutch a three-goal advantage at HT. A fourth followed moments after the restart, as Noa Lang’s delivery from the left was nodded in at the back post by Denzel Dumfries. Substitutes Wout Weghorst and Arnaut Danjuma combined for the fifth, with the Villarreal winger netting in consecutive games for his national side on his first appearance in three years. Donyell Malen came off the bench to add the sixth, slotting into the bottom corner after being played in by Depay.
Louis Van Gaal’s side sit two points ahead of Norway with the sides facing off in the last round of fixtures. Gibraltar were totally outclassed on the night and continued their miserable record of conceding at least three goals in each of their last 12 World Cup qualifiers.