Ecuador bounced back to hold the Netherlands 1-1 in the second Group A match of the 2022 World Cup campaign, eliminating hosts Qatar.
The result means no team has qualified for the last 16, despite eliminating Qatar – who lost 3-1 to Senegal earlier in the day.
Cody Gakpo’s second goal of the tournament put the Netherlands ahead early on, but Ecuador hit back early in the second half through Enner Valencia. The former West Ham striker got his third of the game, but there were concerns for him late on as he was forced off the stretcher with a knee injury.
It leaves the Netherlands needing a point against Qatar in their final group game on Tuesday, while Ecuador will also advance if they lose to Senegal.
Big moments in sports…
- 6mins: Cody Gakpo’s dangerous drive puts the Netherlands ahead.
- 45 + 3mins: Ecuador think they have converted, but Pervis Estupinan’s effort is disallowed for offside.
- 49mins: Enner Valencia scores his third World Cup goal from close range to equalize against Ecuador.
- 59mins: Gonzalo Plata comes within inches of putting Ecuador in front as he nods in a cross.
- 90mins: Concern for Ecuador as Valencia is forced off the stretcher with a knee injury.
The Netherlands get off to a fast start but Ecuador make a comeback
Gakpo came on for the Netherlands with six minutes to go in their opener against Senegal, but against Ecuador – a team that had played seven consecutive clean sheets – it took him until the sixth minute.
The PSV Eindhoven striker picked up Davy Klaasen’s pass on the edge of the box before doubling up to set himself up and whip one inside Hernan Galindez at the near post.
Ecuador thought they would take the lead before the break when Estupinan fired home Angelo Preciado from the edge of the box, but Jackson Porozo appeared to interfere with goalkeeper Andries Noppert’s thoughts on the way in, and his goal was just wide of the mark. .
But Ecuador would not be denied an equalizer after 49 minutes, as Noppert only deflected Estupinan’s shot into the path of Valencia, who had the right of the six-yard box to slot into an empty net. There was also a VAR check for offside, but the striker was in the clear.
The South Americans almost completed the conversion in the 59th minute when the ball fell to Gonzalo Plata in the box and he struck one from the crossbar before it went wide. Noppert was well beaten.
An excellent second half ended with a real impact on Ecuador, however, Valencia was injured on the stretcher.
Gakpo shines but Dutch has no character other than that
Gakpo once again opened the scoring in the Netherlands – as he did earlier – with a very different goal to his debut in the tournament.
It showed the extent of his talent and why he is emerging as one of the stars in Qatar, but the Dutchman’s concern with Louis van Gaal will be the lack of quality he has around him.
Steven Berwig and Davy Klaassen were inactive, while Memphis Depay did not look good when he came off the bench in the second half. Unless your name is Diego Maradona, one man cannot win the World Cup.
Player of the game – Pervis Estupinan
He thought he had a goal at the end of the first half, but the back flag was denied, but his strike led to Valencia’s eventual save.
The Brighton defender was also on the mend with his drive down the left as Ecuador opened up in the second half. For those who don’t already know him, the 24-year-old looks to be a smart addition to the Premier League club to replace Marc Cucurella after he left Chelsea.
What does the result mean?
The result eliminated Qatar from the competition. The Netherlands need a point against their hosts to progress to the last 16. If they achieve this then it will be a direct battle between Ecuador and Senegal for another place. Ecuador only need a draw, while Senegal will need a win to advance.