Luis Miguel Pascual |
Doha (EFE).- Since arriving in Qatar, Ecuador have sought to write historic pages in their football. They scored one by becoming the first side to beat the hosts in an opener, and against the Netherlands today they are looking for a victory that will see them through to the knockout stages for the second time in their history.
The duel points on paper in the direction of “orange”, more seasoned in this type of competition and with players more valued on the markets, as recognized by the Ecuadorian coach, Gustavo Alfaro, but La Tri has shown that the theory doesn’t always come true.
His team has enough quality to rival those of Louis van Gaal and despite his youth, he has left clear signs of a solidity that makes his rivals uneasy no matter what sign they have.
Argentina and Brazil know this well, since in the Latin American ranking they have come up against the Ecuadorian rock and now the Netherlands will know their strength, which has led them to keep a clean sheet in their last seven matches.
The identity of the Netherlands is well known and their credentials are clear, no defeats under the Van Gaal era and almost two and a half goals per game, but Alfaro refuses to turn the duel into an opposition between the attack ” orange” and the Ecuadorian. defense.
“If we don’t make them run, we’re going to have problems”, says the “professor”, who recalls that in their meetings with the big boys they had more success when they were more than a wall for their rivals.
Earrings by Enner Valencia
The Ecuadorian team will wait until the last minute for the knee of Enner Valencia, the veteran striker who had to give up in the first game against Qatar after scoring the two winning goals and who has since been in cotton .
Although the injury does not seem serious, the Fenerbahce player is still resentful of the blow and despite the fact that his will is to jump on the field, the medical staff is extremely careful until the last moment.
Ecuador need him because he happens to be one of the veterans of a very young group and because Valencia have talent in the World Cup, where he has scored the last five goals for his country.
For the rest, the Habs will put their marks and a little more calm, having taken three points in the opening duel, which gives them a certain peace of mind.
“Tomorrow’s game is budgeted to lose. It’s like when you play against Argentina or Brazil. We have everything to gain and a lot to lose,” said the coach, who said that in the first phase of a World Cup you have a wild card and Ecuador aspires to keep it for the last date. against Senegal.
The African team showed courage against the Netherlands and although they were beaten by the individualities of the Europeans, they showed that Van Gaal’s men are vulnerable.
The experienced coach believes that Ecuador will force them to perform better, especially when their players have possession and Friday’s duel will be another step in the progress of the team, which aims to lift the cup.
Van Gaal can make changes to his XI, as he admitted in a press conference, although he made it clear that after overcoming physical discomfort, Memphis Depay will play half a role.
The Netherlands are counting on the Barcelona striker to defeat La Tri, not forgetting to maintain a strong defense that has seen them keep a clean sheet in the last four World Cup matches.
If he manages a fifth, the “orange” team would equal Switzerland’s streak between 2006 and 2010.
- Probable compositions:
Netherlands: Noppert; De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake; Dunfries, Berghuis, De Jong, Blind; Gakpo; Depay and Bergwijn
Ecuador: Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estipiñán; Silver, Méndez, Caicedo, Ibarra; Valencia and Road
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
Time: 7:00 p.m. local time (5:00 p.m. CET, 4:00 p.m. GMT)
Stadium: Khalifa International, Doha.