Goals from Cody Gakpo and Frenkie de Jong ensured that 2-0 win for the Netherlands over Qatar, and top spot for the Dutch in Group A.
The Netherlands went into their final Group A fixture of the World Cup needing only a point to qualify for the knockout stages. Qatar, meanwhile, were already out - the first time a host nation has exited the tournament after two games in the 92-year history of the competition.
In front of a half-empty Al Bayt Stadium, the Arab nation were playing for nothing other than pride. And in the opening exchanges at least, Felix Sanchez's team held firm. They were committed in the challenge and disciplined in their off-the-ball shape but it took only 26 minutes for the Dutch's superior quality to tell.
As has been the story so far in front of goal for the Netherlands, it was all Cody Gakpo, who surely won't see out the January transfer window at PSV. The 23-year-old received a pass into feet, which he flicked intelligently around the corner to Davy Klaassen before collecting the return layoff. In the blink of an eye he was free just inside the area and made no mistake with the finish as the Qatari defenders closed in.
The rest of the half was devoid of any real opportunities and Qatar, to their credit, did not roll over even as the mood in the stadium quickly plummeted from mildly optimistic to abject despair.
The Dutch were doing little to lift the mood for the neutral, knocking the ball around their back five with all the urgency of a pre-season friendly. Memphis Depay, in particular, was staggeringly poor in the opening period - no surprise given he has just 116 minutes of La Liga football under his belt for Barcelona this season.
Van Gaal's side were struggling to play through the low Qatari block, with only Frenkie de Jong and occasionally Klaassen showing the requisite technical ability to find space between the lines and turn.
Following the break, the Netherlands grabbed a second goal after Klaassen's cross was flicked into the path of Depay by Boualem Khoukhi. The Barcelona forward could only shoot straight at Meshaal Barsham, who still had to produce a smart reaction stop, but the onrushing de Jong was there to smash home the follow-up.
The game soon died out after that. Substitutes Vincent Janssen and Steven Berghuis almost combined for a goal almost immediately but it was ruled out due to an accidental handball from Gakpo in the build-up. Berghuis, who was lively after coming on, also curled a shot from outside the box against the crossbar in stoppage time.
When the final whistle blew it must have been a relief for everyone inside the stadium such was the lethargy on show in the second half. For the Netherlands, this was a real chance to puff their chests out and strut their stuff ahead of the knockout stages. They failed to do either.
They will, at the very least, have a top spot in Group A they scarcely deserve. For Qatar, this was probably their best performance of the tournament but it was far too little too late.
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.