The Netherlands topped Group A by handing hosts Qatar a third straight defeat in Al Khor on Tuesday.
PSV striker Gakpo was one of the breakout stars of the tournament and impressed again at the Al Bayt Stadium as he set the Oranje up for victory with a clinical strike in the 26th minute.
Elsewhere, as Senegal beat Ecuador, another goal from Frenkie de Jong secured an emphatic victory to secure top spot in the pool.
Gakpo would probably not have had such a prominent role so far had it not been for Memphis Depay’s hamstring injury, but the pair started together on Tuesday and will now look to start again in the round of 16 against the Group B runners-up.
The Netherlands immediately looked the more threatening with Depay in the line-up, although he failed to fire in an early scramble in the box, leading Daley Blind to head tamely at Meshaal Barsham and pounce early on.
It was Gakpo who instead delivered the goods once again after a lovely move, laying the ball off to Davy Klaassen and coming back to fire a firm finish into the bottom right corner.
Atrocious defending from Qatar then allowed Louis van Gaal’s men to double their lead four minutes into the second half when Barsham screened from Depay but De Jong was able to beat two men to rebound in front of the goal line.
A third for Steven Berghuis was ruled out by Gakpo in the handball, the substitute also hit the post in stoppage time, but events in the second leg meant the Netherlands’ position was never threatened.
1. Netherlands (3-4-1-2)
GK: Andries Noppert – 6/10 – Had little to do.
CB: Jurrien Timber – 7/10 – Looked assured in possession and comfortable defensively.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 6/10 – One of the easiest games van Dijk will ever play.
CB: Nathan Ake – 6/10 – The usual dependable performance from Ake. Booked.
RWB: Denzel Dumfries – 5/10 – Occasionally threatening down the right side but mostly ineffective with the ball. Quite limited technically and it shows against a poor side like Qatar.
LWB: Daley Blind -7/10 – In contrast, Blind’s weight of pass was quality throughout. Intelligent on the ball and good movement off it.
CM: Marten de Roon – 5/10 – Had very little impact on the game.
CM: Frenkie de Jong – 8/10 – Full of energy and produced some lovely link-up play. Showed he was the smartest player on the pitch by pouncing upon a rebound to make it 2-0.
CAM: Davy Klaassen – 7/10 – Alongside de Jong was bright and played an important part in both goals.
CF: Cody Gakpo – 7/10 – Opened the scoring with a low drive from just inside the area but faded afterwards.
CF: Memphis Depay – 3/10 – Looked way off the pace and lost the ball on numerous occasions in the opening period. Needs to regain match sharpness quickly.
SUB: Steven Berghuis (’66 for Klaassen) – 7/10 – Sharp after coming on and had a goal disallowed by VAR before rattling the bar from distance.
SUB: Vincent Janssen (’66 for Depay) – N/A
SUB: Teun Koopmeiners (’83 for de Roon) – N/A
SUB: Wout Weghorst (’83 for Gakpo) – N/A
SUB: Kenneth Taylor (86′ for de Jong) – N/A
Manager: Louis van Gaal – 4/10 – This really was a poor showing from the Dutch who did the bare minimum to win the game against vastly inferior appointments. There are far greater tests to come – for which they look ill-prepared.
2. Qatar (3-5-2)
GK: Meshaal Barsham – 7/10 – Good stop on Blind early but could do little for Gakpo’s goal. Great reaction save on Depay in the second half but let down by his defenders for the rebound.
CB: Pedro Miguel – 6/10 – Effective man-marking Depay in the first half but was too slow to react for de Jong’s goal
CB: Boualem Khoukhi – 4/10 – Sloppy on the ball and his misjudged backward header led to the Dutch’s second goal.
CB: Abdelkarim Hassan – 7/10 – Made a couple of brave runs forward from the back but had nobody to aim a cross at. Had a good game overall.
RWB: Ismael Mohammad – 6/10 – Got up and down the flank admirably.
LWB: Homam Elamin – 6/10 – Put in an important covering block on Gakpo and beat Dumfries in an aerial duel early on. Worked hard for his team.
CM: Hassan Al Haydos – 6/10 – The Qatar captain was combative and had a couple of nice touches but was ultimately outmatched before being substituted.
CM: Assim Madibo – 5/10 – Ineffective shielding in front of the defence but was often left with too much to do.
CM: Abdulaziz Hatem – 4/10 – Tested Noppert from long-range in the opening exchanges but did very little else of note.
CF: Almoez Ali – 3/10 – One good tackle tracking back on de Roon was about all Ali contributed.
CF: Akram Afif – 6/10 – Showed glimpses of quality but had to drop far too deep to get on the ball.
SUB: Ali Assadalla (64′ for Al Haydos) – N/A
SUB: Mohammed Muntari (64′ for Ali) – N/A
SUB: Karim Boudiaf (64′ for Madibo) – N/A
SUB: Ahmed Alaaeldin (85′ for Hatem) – N/A
SUB: Musab Kheder (85′ for Mohammad) – N/A
Manager: Felix Sanchez – 7/10 – All things this was a brave showing from Qatar even though they had nothing to play for. Limited the Dutch to few clear-cut chances.