Memphis Depay scored twice and had a penalty saved as the Netherlands maintained their hold on World Cup qualifying Group G with a comfortable 6-0 win over Gibraltar.
Virgil van Dijk’s early header got the ball rolling, with Depay responding to Bradley Banda saving his spot-kick by finishing off a neat team move and scoring a second penalty as the Oranje went in at half-time with a commanding lead.
Denzel Dumfries wasted no time in adding to the scoreline in the second half, before substitutes Arnaut Danjuma and Donny Malen completed the scoring to condemn Gibraltar to an eighth defeat from eight.
The Netherlands can ill afford to slip up, with Norway two points behind them, but that was never likely here as Van Dijk opened the scoring inside nine minutes, losing his marker with ease and nodding Depay’s corner in at the near post.
Stefan de Vrij’s header was blocked in the box by the arm of Graeme Torrilla, with a penalty awarded following a VAR review, yet Depay’s spot-kick was at a nice height for Banda to make a convincing save.
The Gibraltar goalkeeper could do little two minutes later, however, as Noa Lang’s superb pass carved the visiting defence open and Davy Klaassen squared for Depay to tap in.
Banda made fine saves from Georginio Wijnaldum and De Vrij, but another handball – this time Julian Valarino blocking Steven Berghuis’ right-wing cross – gave Depay a second opportunity from the spot he would not pass up.
Dumfries made it 4-0 shortly after the restart, finding himself in the centre of the box to head in Lang’s left-wing cross, and a lull in the scoring was brought to an end 15 minutes from time when Wout Weghorst flicked on to Danjuma, who steered the ball into the bottom-left corner on the stretch.
Weghorst thought he had got his name on the scoresheet when he nodded over Banda but Roy Chipolina hacked off the line, with the sixth instead belonging to Malen after slick interplay involving Depay.
What does it mean? Netherlands in control of their own fate
The Netherlands maintained their gap at the top of Group G and are firmly in control of their World Cup qualification fate.
With two games left to play against Montenegro and second-placed Norway, Louis van Gaal’s side can cement their place at the tournament with just four more points.
Depay breaks Oranje scoring record
Depay has now scored more goals for the Netherlands in 2021 (14) than any other player has previously in a single calendar year, surpassing Patrick Kluivert’s previous record of 12 in 2000.
The Barcelona forward was not deterred by his 19th-minute penalty being saved, scoring the goal that broke the record two minutes later and making amends with his second spot-kick at the end of the first half. Depay finished an extremely lively outing with seven shots, eight chances created and two assists.
Goals flowing for Van Gaal’s Netherlands
The Netherlands have scored four or more goals in three consecutive home games for the first time in 20 years, with the last instance coming in 2001, also under Van Gaal.
With 29 goals in just eight games, the Oranje are the leading scorers in European qualifying so far.
The Netherlands travel to face Montenegro on November 13, while Gibraltar play Turkey away from home on the same day.