Netherlands will be looking to go one step closer to the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a win against Ecuador in Group A. Oranje play their South American opponents at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday with La Tri picking up three points in the tournament opener against the hosts.
Louis van Gaal saw his side record a 2-0 win against African Cup of Nations champions Senegal late on thanks to goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen while La Tri achieved the same result thanks to a brace from captain and all-time top goalscorer Enner Valencia.
Oranje had to be patient to finally break through Senegal’s resilience but will want to up their performance after a below-average display despite winning all three points. Ecuador, meanwhile, got off to the perfect start and will want to keep that momentum going as they look to reach the round of 16.
Results in the last five matches in all competitions:
Louis van Gaal may make a late decision on Memphis Depay with the Barcelona winger ruled not fit enough for a full 90-minutes of football against Senegal having suffered a hamstring back in September. The attacker was Oranje’s top scorer in the qualifiers with 12 goals but we could see the likes of Vincent Janssen starting again instead.
Ecuador will be hoping Valencia will be available for their crucial group stage match after the 37-year-old suffered a knee injury against Qatar. Head coach Alfaro could make one change with Jeremy Sarmiento believed to make a start against Oranje while defender Robert Arboleda is looking to push for a start for his country.
GBeNeFN | Tom Phillips