AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Ecuador continued their strong start to the World Cup, coming from behind to draw the Netherlands 1-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium. The South American side equalized through Enner Valencia early in the second half and took an important step towards exiting the group stage.
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1. Ecuador’s change of tactics pays off
After playing with a four-man defender to open the tournament, Ecuador made a major tactical change in their preparation against the Netherlands with Troyes centre-back Jackson Porozo entering the squad to replace Romario Ibarra, who has played mostly on the left side of midfield against Qatar. .
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When the Netherlands scored just six minutes in – due to an errant back pass from Brighton and Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo – it looked like the change might have backfired, but it wasn’t the case. Apart from that moment, Ecuador controlled the rest of the match and got the equalizer shortly after halftime.
There’s no doubt that Ecuador should be happy with the way they played, but being as dominant as they were and not getting the three points feels like a missed opportunity. Now they will face African champions Senegal, who need a win or a draw to qualify for the knockout stage for the second time in history and the first time since 2006.
2. Netherlands Historically Low Luck Creation
It was the Netherlands’ least threatening attack in a game dating back more than a decade. Dating back to 2010, the Netherlands’ worst expected goal production (xG) over 187 games was 0.25, according to the TruMedia StatsPerform database. Only three times has it fallen below 0.4.
Against Ecuador, they managed just 0.07, a historically inept performance for a side with no shortage of attacking talent. Which brings us to Cody Gakpo. His sublime early finish – and his second goal of the tournament – saved the point for the Netherlands, giving the Dutch four points from two games.
With Qatar in the lead, the Dutch should be able to safely advance to the knockout stages after missing out on the 2018 tournament, but it’s hard to envision a tournament in depth after this performance.
3. Soulier d’or watch for Enner Valencia
Who chose Enner Valencia as Golden Shoe? The Fenerbahce striker netted the equalizer early in the second half and has three goals after two games, following his two-goal performance on the tournament’s opening night. Five goals were enough to win the Golden Boot in two of the last four World Cups (2006 and 2010). It’s still early days, of course, but he’s well on his way to becoming a legend back home in South America.
Player ratings (1=worst, 10=best)
Netherlands: A. Noppert 7, J. Timber 6, V. van Dijk 7, N. Ake 7, S. Bergwijn 5, C. Gakpo 7, D. Klaassen5, D. Blind 4, T. Koopmeiners 6, F. de Jong 6 , D. Dumfries 6
Subtitles: M. Depay 5, S. Berghuis 6, de Roon 6, Weghorst 6
Ecuador: H. Galindez 6, F. Torres 8, P. Hincapie 7, M. Estrada 6, E. Valencia 8, A. Preciado 7, G. Plata 6, J. Mendez, M. Caicedo 5, J. Porozo 8
Subtitles: Sarmiento 6, Ibarra n/a, Rodriguez n/a
Best and Worst Performers
He stepped up when it mattered, scoring a 49th-minute goal to give Ecuador an important point.
There’s a lot of collective blame for Holland’s poverty, but Bergwijn’s half-time withdrawal was justified after he failed to find much of the game in the first half.
Highlights and Moments
Gakpo’s goal was the only shot on target for the Netherlands.
It didn’t take long ⚡️
Cody Gakpo kicks things off for the Netherlands 🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/rV8MmgCgQo
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 25, 2022
Valencia continue to be key to Ecuador and are early Golden Boot contenders.
Current FIFA World Cup 2022 top scorer: Enner Valencia 🇪🇨✍️ pic.twitter.com/frpAtRsPYf
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 25, 2022
After the game: What players and managers said
Quotes to come…
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
– Cody Gakpo’s goal in the 6th minute is the fastest goal scored in the 2022 World Cup so far.
– Cody Gakpo: 2nd goal in the World Cup in his 2nd World Cup match
– Enner Valencia now has 6 of Ecuador’s 13 World Cup goals.
– With the draw, Qatar are the first team eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Netherlands: The Dutch take on World Cup hosts Qatar on Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. ET. For the Qataris, who are already absent from the tournament, the game will be a consolation for an otherwise poor performance. Meanwhile, the Netherlands will seal their qualification in the round of 16.
Ecuador: Tuesday’s game against Senegal (10 a.m. ET) has always featured as the pivotal game for Ecuador and that remains true.