Louis Van Gaal and Gustavo Alfaro know it: a victory this Friday afternoon would ensure their country a qualification for the round of 16. A stage of the competition that the Batavians have not reached since 2014 (they had been eliminated in the semi-finals) or since 2006 for Ecuador which had been eliminated by the English in the 8th.
It takes less than five minutes for the Dutch to take the lead. On the first chance of the game, our neighbors opened the scoring following a very nice strike from Gakpo (6th, 1-0).
The reaction of the Ecuadorians was long overdue. In the 32nd minute, Valencia alerted Noppert for the first time with a very fine shot. In the stoppage time of the first half, Estupiñan thought to offer the equalizer to his team by deflecting a shot from Preciado but the referee canceled the goal following an offside from Pozoro which hampered the Dutch goalkeeper.
But it was only a postponement for Gustavo Alfaro’s men since as soon as they returned from the locker room, Enner Valencia equalized opportunistically. At the same time, he becomes the provisional top scorer of this World Cup with three goals.
This equalization gave wings to Ecuador. On the hour mark, the South Americans were close to taking the lead but Gonzalo Plata’s powerful sending hit the crossbar of a Noppert who had not moved