The Netherlands and Ecuador face off on Friday in a Group A World Cup soccer showdown at Khalifa International Stadium.
The Netherlands come into this game sitting tied for first place in the group, having picked up three points. The Netherlands opened up their World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Senegal. Cody Gakpo opened up the scoring in the 84th minute, and it’s all they needed to secure the win. The Netherlands were actually out shot 4-3, but they did have 54 percent of the possession. Memphis Depay didn’t get the start in the last game because of his recovery from injury, but he did come off the bench. In this game, the expectation is that he could get the start, and that will only help the team. That is expected to be the only change for this team, who was very happy with their first game.
Ecuador comes into this game sitting tied for first place having picked up three points. Ecuador opened up their World Cup against Qatar, and they were able to secure a 2-0 victory. It was Enner Valencia that scored in the 16th and 31st minutes, and that’s all they needed to secure the win. They had 53 percent of the possession. Valencia suffered a knee injury in the last game, but it’s expected he will still start. Even though it’s expected that he starts, it’s unclear how bad the knee will be bothering him. If he had to leave this game early, that would be very bad news for this team.
I do have big concerns about the knee of Valencia, but even if he does get hurt, or has to leave, I think Ecuador is going to find success here. Ecuador is a strong defensive team, and they showed that in the first game. The Netherlands are going to be really tested here, and I think they will fail that test. Back Ecuador +0.5.