Netherlands 1 – 1 Ecuador

Ecuador fought back to hold the Netherlands to a 1-1 draw in the second match of their Group A campaign at the 2022 World Cup, and in the process knocked out hosts Qatar.

The result means neither team has yet qualified for the round of 16, despite eliminating Qatar – who lost 3-1 to Senegal earlier in the day.

Cody Gakpo’s second goal of the tournament gave the Netherlands the lead, but Ecuador fought back early in the second half through Enner Valencia. The former West Ham striker picked up his third of the tournament but there were concerns for him late on as he was forced off on a stretcher with a knee injury.

The Netherlands need a point against Qatar in their final group game on Tuesday, while Ecuador will also progress if they avoid defeat against Senegal.

The highlights of the game…

  • 6 mins: Cody Gakpo’s ferocious drive puts the Netherlands ahead.
  • 45+3mins: Ecuador believe they have equalized but Pervis Estupinan’s effort is ruled out for offside.
  • 49 mins: Enner Valencia scores their third of the World Cup from close range to equalize for Ecuador.
  • 59 mins: Gonzalo Plata passes inches away from putting Ecuador in front as he shakes the crossbar.
  • 90 mins: Concern for Ecuador as Valencia are sent off on a stretcher with a knee injury.

The Dutch start fast but Ecuador fight back

Gakpo broke through for the Netherlands with six minutes to go in their opener against Senegal, but against Ecuador – a side who were on a clean streak of seven straight – it took him until at the sixth minute.

The PSV Eindhoven striker took the pass from Davy Klaasen at the entrance to the penalty area before taking two touches to start then slamming one into the near post of Hernan Galindez.

Cody Gakpo roars with delight after opening the scoring for the Netherlands against Ecudaor

Ecuador thought they had the advantage just before the break as Estupinan fended off Angelo Preciado’s shot from the edge of the box, but Jackson Porozo was seen as interfering with goalkeeper Andries Noppert’s view as he was going in, and the goal was ruled out for offside. .

But Ecuador were not to be denied the equalizer after 49 minutes as Noppert could only push Estupinan’s shot into the path of Valencia, who had freedom from the penalty area to drive into an empty net. Again there was a VAR check for offside, but the striker was comfortably settled.

The South Americans almost completed a turnover in the 59th minute when the ball fell on Gonzalo Plata in the box and he hit one on the crossbar before it bounced clear. Noppert was well beaten.

A great second half ended in real concern for Ecuador, as Valencia were forced out injured on a stretcher.

Gakpo shines but the Dutch lack more quality

Cody Gakpo celebrates with teammate Daley Blind
Cody Gakpo celebrates with teammate Daley Blind

Gakpo opened the scoring for the Netherlands again – as he had in the opener – with a very different kind of goal from his first of the tournament.

It showed the range of his talent and why he is emerging as one of Qatar’s stars, but the concern for the Dutch and Louis van Gaal will be the lack of quality they have around him.

Steven Berwign and Davy Klaassen were ineffective, while Memphis Depay didn’t look quite as good as he came off the bench for the second half. Unless your name is Diego Maradona, a man cannot win a World Cup.

Player of the Match – Pervis Estupinan

Pervis Estupinan reacts after his strike was disallowed by VAR
Pervis Estupinan reacts after his strike was disallowed by VAR

He thought he had scored the equalizer late in the first half, only to be disallowed by the offside flag, but his strike eventually created the leveler as Valencia capitalized on their effort to be saved.

The Brighton wing-back was also a menacing presence with his marauding runs down the left as Ecuador opened up in the second half. For those who didn’t already know him, the 24-year-old appears to be another shrewd addition to the Premier League club as a replacement for Marc Cucurella following his move to Chelsea.

What does the result mean?

The result eliminated Qatar from the competition. The Netherlands need a point against the hosts to qualify for the last 16. If they succeed, it will be a direct fight between Ecuador and Senegal for the other place. Ecuador only need a draw, while Senegal would need a win to progress.

Sky Sports

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