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Ecuador was the better team against the Netherlands

Ecuador kept pressing while allowing only two shots on goal to a talented Dutch team. Though the game ended tied, La Tri played better than the Dutch.

Two. Two is the number of shots on goal the Netherlands had all game long against Ecuador. An early goal allowed the Dutch to take the lead and La Tri found themselves chasing, but they didn’t allow the Dutch to make any progress forward. Honestly, the Netherlands should consider themselves lucky they walked away from this game with one point.

Ecuador has a young and explosive squad that are going to be fun to watch as the next cycle approaches and they mature over the next couple of years. But they might even be good enough now. A lot of people haven’t given them a lot of attention and expected the Netherlands to dominate them and finish on top of the group. 

People slept on Ecuador, plain and simple. While some can argue the win against Qatar was inevitable as they faced an inferior team, their draw against the Netherlands proved they can take on any side and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they make it far in the competition. 

Ecuador stifled the Dutch attack

The Netherlands took control of the game in the beginning when they scored six minutes in, but the Dutch did very little apart from the brilliant goal. There was a defensive error from Ecuador when Jackson Porozo was not able to get the ball, and Netherlands’ own Davy Klaassen got to it easily. A pass over to Cody Gakpo led to their only goal, as he did not hesitate and put it past goalkeeper Hernán Galíndez. 

The Netherlands then played a lot of defense to preserve the lead, and Ecuador struggled to break down the Dutch defense. It looked like they found the equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time, but their goal was called offside because Porozo was in the way of goalkeeper Andries Noppert. The Netherlands were so focused on preserving their lead that they even forgot to move forward toward the goal as they only recorded one shot on goal in the first half. Ecuador, meanwhile, had six. The equalizer was bound to come. 

Enner Valencia changed things when he scored in the 49th minute. The Netherlands committed an error in their half of the field when Jurrien Timber lost the ball and Pervís Estupiñán took the shot. Noppert initially got his hand on it, but Valencia was right there to kick the rebound in the back of the net for the equalizer. That goal puts Valencia in first place for the golden boot with three goals. It also means that Valencia has scored each of Ecuador’s last six goals at the World Cup. 

With his sixth consecutive goal, he is just the fourth player ever to reach that milestone, joining Portugal’s Eusebio (1966), Italy’s Paolo Rossi (1982), and Russia’s Oleg Salenko (1994). Hopefully, Ecuador can have Valencia in their last group-stage match as he had to be carted off the field in the 89th minute with a right leg injury. If Ecuador were to lose him it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would have a big impact on the team. 

Should be favorites to move on

The Netherlands should consider themselves lucky they did not lose the game with how much Ecuador was pressing all game long. Could it even be called luck, or was it just the defense doing its job? Even though they held 55% of the possession they only had one shot on goal in the second half compared to Ecuador’s nine. 

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, a lot of pressure is on the Dutch, and their draw to Ecuador shows they aren’t as invincible as people made them out to be. They looked very limited and Ecuador was the better team on the field despite the scoreline. Even with the one point, both the Netherlands and Ecuador sit at the top of the group, and all that is left is one game that will hopefully send them to the knockout rounds.