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Netherlands vs Ecuador. FIFA World Cup Group A.

Khalifa International StadiumAttendance44,833.

Netherlands 1

  • C Gakpo (6th minute)

Ecuador 1

  • E Valencia (49th minute)

World Cup 2022 - Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador: Enner Valencia earns point for South Americans in Group A clash

Match report as Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in their second Group A game at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Cody Gakpo's second of the tournament put the Dutch ahead, before Enner Valencia equalised for the South American nation; Result knocks host nation out of tournament

Ecuador's Enner Valencia celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cup group A soccer match between Netherlands and Ecuador, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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

The result means neither side has yet qualified for the last 16, although it does eliminate Qatar - who had lost 3-1 to Senegal earlier in the day.

Cody Gakpo's second goal of the tournament put Netherlands ahead early on, but Ecuador hit back at the start of the second half through Enner Valencia. The former West Ham striker notched 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.

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

Big moments in the game...

  • 6mins: Cody Gakpo's fierce drive puts Netherlands into an early lead.
  • 45+3mins: Ecuador think they've levelled but Pervis Estupinan's effort is ruled out for offside.
  • 49mins: Enner Valencia scores his third of the World Cup from close range to equalise for Ecuador.
  • 59mins: Gonzalo Plata goes within inches of putting Ecuador in front as he rattles the crossbar.
  • 90mins: Concern for Ecuador as Valencia is forced off on a stretcher with a knee injury.

Netherlands start fast but Ecuador fire back

Gakpo broke through for the Netherlands with six minutes to go in their opener against Senegal, but against Ecuador - a team that were on a run of seven clean sheets in a row - it took him until just the sixth minute.

The PSV Eindhoven forward picked up Davy Klaasen's pass on the edge of the box before taking two touches to tee himself up and then slamming one inside Hernan Galindez's near post.

Cody Gakpo roars in celebration after opening the scoring for Netherlands against Ecudaor
Image: Cody Gakpo roars in celebration after opening the scoring for Netherlands against Ecudaor

Ecuador thought they had the lead just before the break as Estupinan flicked home Angelo Preciado's shot from the edge of the box, but Jackson Porozo was deemed to be interfering with goalkeeper Andries Noppert's view as it went in, and the goal was ruled out for offside.

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But Ecuador were not to be denied the equaliser after 49 minutes, as Noppert could only palm Estupinan's shot into the path of Valencia, who had the freedom of the six-yard box to prod into an empty net. Again there was a VAR check for offside, but the striker was comfortably on.

Valencia joins esteemed company

Enner Valencia is just the fourth player ever to score six consecutive goals for a nation in the competition, along with Eusébio for Portugal in 1966, Paolo Rossi for Italy in 1982 and Oleg Salenko for Russia in 1994.

The South Americans almost completed a turnaround on 59 minutes as the ball fell to Gonzalo Plata in the box and he thundered one off the crossbar before it bounced clear. Noppert was well beaten.

An excellent second half ended with real concern for Ecuador, however, as Valencia was forced off injured on a stretcher.

Gakpo shines but Dutch lack quality besides

Cody Gakpo celebrates with team-mate Daley Blind
Image: Cody Gakpo celebrates with team-mate Daley Blind

Gakpo opened the scoring again for Netherlands - just as he did in the opener - with a very different type of goal than his first of the tournament.

It showed the range of his talent and why he is emerging as one of the stars in Qatar, 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 ineffectual, while Memphis Depay didn't look entirely match fit when he came off the bench for the second half. Unless your name is Diego Maradona, one man cannot win a World Cup.

Ecuador left to sweat on Valencia injury

Enner Valencia is stretchered off after sustaining a knee injury
Image: Enner Valencia is stretchered off after sustaining a knee injury

Sky Sports' Daniel Sansom:

Ecuador are now unbeaten in four consecutive World Cup games for the first time in their history and that impressive run could not have happened without their veteran captain Valencia.

The 33-year-old has scored each of his country's past six goals at the World Cup and is just the fourth player to score six consecutive times for a nation in the competition.

But it could be his final contribution. Valencia was stretchered off moments before stoppage time at Khalifa International Stadium after appearing to aggravate the knee problem that almost forced him to miss Ecuador's second group-stage game.

Whether he's fit for Tuesday's crucial decider against Senegal remains to be seen but one thing is certain - Ecuador's success depends on him.

Van Gaal dissastisfied with performance

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal:

"We were poor in terms of ball possession and if you're not good at ball possession you won't reach the other half. We would lose the ball too quickly so we could not pass to our own players.

"Plus we lost every challenge, every duel, every second ball. Ecuador could have won but they did not have many chances either.

"I must say I was satisfied [with the result] but I was not satisfied with the game. We simply need to improve our game in terms of ball possession and we are working on that and we will continue to work on that. Whether we will make it [further] in this tournament I can't say, I can't guarantee that but I think so."

Player of the match - Pervis Estupinan

Pervis Estupinan reacts after his strike is disallowed by VAR
Image: Pervis Estupinan reacts after his strike is disallowed by VAR

He thought he scored the equaliser at the end of the first half, only to be denied by the offside flag, but his strike created the leveller in the end as Valencia capitalised on his effort being 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 that weren't already aware of him, the 24-year-old looks yet another shrewd addition by the Premier League club as a replacement for Marc Cucurella following his departure to Chelsea.

What does the result mean?

The result eliminated Qatar from the competition. Netherlands need a point against the hosts to progress to the last 16. Should they achieve that then it will be a straight fight between Ecuador and Senegal for the other spot. Ecuador only need a draw, while Senegal would require a victory to progress.

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