World Cup 2022 Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador: Three things we learnt

Netherlands will be frustrated to come out of this match with yet another below-par performance but relived at the fact they still picked up a point. Cody Gakpo scored the fastest goal in the tournament so far in less than six minutes before Ecuador turned up the heat in the second-half and found the equaliser thanks to Enner Valencia.

Four points in their group stage ties so far puts Oranje in a great position in their final match against Qatar but issues need to be addressed quickly if they are to be a success in the knockout rounds. The Netherlands defence were caught out on a number of occasions with the likes of Valencia, Gonzalo Plata and Kevin Rodriguez all testing goalkeeper Andreas Noppert for the winner in the second-half while Louis van Gaal’s side failed to push on from Gakpo’s opening goal.

1. Cody Gakpo is making a name for himself

Once again, the young Dutchman makes a name for himself and sets a tournament record with fastest goal after just just five minutes and 45 seconds played. The PSV Eindhoven player rarely put a foot wrong and will certainly add more interest and inflation to his potential transfer this season.

2. Mediocre performances need addressing

Another below-average performance overall from Oranje is far from the ideal situation to be in as they aim for a place in the round of 16. They managed to grab a late win against Senegal despite the African Cup of Nations champions having the momentum and battling well throughout the match but could only manage a draw against an Ecuador side who will feel like they should have won that match.

3. Netherlands lack of midfield leaves defence vulnerable

Ecuador managed to break Oranje’s defence pretty swiftly in the second-half and could have easily taken the lead straight after equalising if Plata’s strike was on target. Valencia finished the match with another goal to go with his impressive tally at international level but the captain had a great chance himself in the first-half to give La Tri the lead. Van Gaal will know he will need to address the defensive issues to stop similar chances like that arising in the knockout rounds. It may well help addressing the issue in midfield – in the fact that Netherlands lacked one at times – and support the three defenders.

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