Both teams won their FIFA World Cup 2022 openers by the same margin.
After starting the FIFA World Cup 2022 with a win both Netherlands and Ecuador will be confident before going toe-to-toe. Louis van Gaal’s side were unimpressive for the most part but managed to find two late goals to beat Senegal. Whereas, the south American side showed a very dominant display against the host Qatar.
Netherlands and Ecuador are meeting at a major tournament for the first time. Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro will be confident that he can assemble a team able to frustrate Louis van Gaal’s side.
Kick-off: 9:30 PM (IST), 4 PM (GMT)
Netherlands Form (all comps): DWWWW
Ecuador Form (all comps): WDDDW
Injury & Team News
Memphis Depay is being brought along slowly by Van Gaal after recovering from an injury. The Barcelona forward could be in line for more game time after a short cameo against Senegal. Van Gaal made a couple of surprising calls for the Netherlands’ opener against Senegal which he is likely to reverse here. There are not any injury concerns at this moment.
Enner Valencia was subbed off in the game against Qatar due to an ankle sprain. However, Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro insisted after the game that there was “no doubt” his captain would play against the Netherlands despite injury troubles. But still, there is no confirmation if he is fit enough to start in the match.
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Player to watch
Memphis Depay is known as your typical modern-day footballer. Flashy cars, artistic tattoos and a lavish off-the-field lifestyle but it’s usually on the field that he catches your eye as a player who can tear apart the opposition’s defences whilst looking the part.
Very few footballers can pull off what Memphis Depay does on the pitch with his phenomenal skill-set like the ability to glide through players in tight spaces with such a low centre of gravity and the artistry of the footballing mind to make things out of absolutely nothing, it’s comparable to his style off the pitch. In the upcoming matches, he will be very crucial for the team.
Estrada inevitably provides a significant aerial threat, a key quality needed for a striker leading the line. He doesn’t necessarily have the physicality of other strikers his size, but nevertheless has an excellent leap and intelligent movement to compensate for it.
Estrada can also act as the focal point for long balls, bringing others into play with flick-ons and knock-downs. In the likely absence of Enner Valencia, his role will be crucial for the attacking department.
Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, Berghuis, De Jong, Blind; Gakpo; Memphis, Bergwijn
Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Mendez, Plata, Caicedo; Sarmiento, Estrada, Ibarra
Netherlands vs Ecuador: Prediction
Van Gaal’s men have more top-level quality and experience to edge this, but Ecuador will be in the touching distance all the way. It could be a tight, relatively scrappy game, but Holland will come out as a better team.
Prediction: Netherlands 2-1 Ecuador