When the most civilian Netherlands meets the Ecuadorian civilian hero, 1:1 is the ideal result

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After the host Qatar was eliminated first, the suspense in Group A is who would get the first and second place among the remaining three teams. The Netherlands and Ecuador won the first round and had a direct dialogue in the second round. This “battle of civilians” ended in a draw. The Netherlands, which seems stronger on paper, failed to get 3 points as they wished, but they should feel lucky because they almost couldn’t even guarantee 1 point. As F. De Jong confessed after the game: “We should be satisfied with this 1 point.”

Although the Eindhoven teenager Huckpo scored a fantastic goal for the Dutch team in the first 6 minutes, this goal was also the fastest in this cup. Will the Dutch have a chance to score again? Threatening shots were few and far between. As the “most civilian” Dutch team since the era of Total Defense, this performance is not beyond the fans’ expectations. After all, only 4 of the 11 starting players came from the top European giants, and none of the offensive 3-man teams went from the Oranje Corps of the five major leagues. However, the Dutch squad holds 4 points in the final round of the group stage and faces the host Qatar, which has been eliminated early, and the initiative to qualify is still firmly in their own hands.

Like Senegal in the first group stage match, Van Gaal still did not arrange for Memphis, who was sitting on the bench in Barcelona, ​​to start. He continued to trust Bailewan and Huckpo’s “Eredivisie partners” to be in charge of the Dutch team’s offense. Ajax teenager Timber replaced De Light as the right center back, and Klaassen and Kupmenas replaced Jansen and Bailerheis, who performed poorly in the first game. The first 11 players were adjusted to 3 players.

Harpo, who had already been tagged with a high price tag of 50 million euros by Eindhoven in the summer, was pushed to the front line in this campaign after scoring in the first round. A World Cup goal ushered in a dream start for the Dutch team. You know, this is only Huckpo’s second shot in this World Cup! 2 goals are scored in 2 shots, and the success rate of the images is as high as 100%. Since the 1998 World Cup, the Dutch team has not lost in the group stage of the 5th World Cup. Eight years ago, the Dutch team led by Van Gaal scored consecutive goals in the first two games of the Memphis group stage. Eight years later, it was replaced by the younger Huckpo.

Although Huck took the lead early for the Dutch team, Ecuador’s tenacity made it difficult for the Sincere Legion, who could not finish in front of the goal and create good scoring opportunities afterward. Only De Jong and Dumfries played for the top giants among the seven leading players in the midfield. This exposed the weakness of the finishing ability and insufficient offensive stability of the “most civilian” Dutch team since the era of Total Defense.

After beating the host Qatar 2-0 in the first game, Ecuador showed its toughness to the world fans this time. Especially at the last moment of the first half, A. Preciado’s goal was disallowed due to Poroso’s offside. After appealing to the referee to no avail, Ecuador’s passion for the game reached a new level.

Ecuador gave the Dutch a hard time early in the second half. In particular, the midfielder entirely suppressed the Netherlands’ offensive and defensive system centered on F·De Jong. Only 3 minutes into the half-time kick-off, Caicedo intercepted the ball and counterattacked in the midfield. Although Estupinian’s shot was saved by the Dutch goalkeeper Norbert, Valencia still seized the opportunity to equalize the score. This time, none of them were offside.

De Jong’s reflection after the game is honest: “Our performance is very mediocre because our opponent is not weak!” How strong is Ecuador?

Ecuador had as many as nine shots in the second half alone, while the Netherlands had only one blast after scoring. If it weren’t for the help of the goalpost, the Netherlands might even lose the game. In this campaign, the Dutch team only took two shots, the team with the second-fewest shots in a single game so far in the World Cup, only more than Costa Rica, which had zero shots against Spain. This shows how hard Ecuador suppressed the Dutch.

A score of 1 to 1 is completely acceptable for the Dutch team, which has a favorable schedule. After all, at the end of the group stage, it was Qatar, the host, who was out of the game early, and the hosts slackened. Van Gaal had room for a broader range of rotations to ensure he could score points. Although Ecuador, which performed better in this game, has 4 points, they need to fight against Senegal in the final round. What is especially bad for them is that the team’s “national hero,” Valencia, scored again in this game. Before the end, he was forced to leave the field early due to a muscle strain in his right leg. He may not be able to qualify for the life-and-death battle against Senegal in the final round of Ecuador.

How important is Valencia to Ecuador? Ecuador’s last six World Cup goals have all been scored by the 33-year-old veteran. In the two World Cups in 2014 and 2022, Valencia has scored six goals in 5 appearances so far; this is also all of Ecuador’s goals in these two cups. In the World Cup in Brazil, Valencia first scored a goal in the team’s 1-2 loss to Switzerland, then scored two goals against Ecuador in the game against Honduras. Valencia has scored three goals in the two rounds that have ended in this cup. They can be called the “only” hero to achieve goals in Ecuador.

With six goals in 5 games, this record makes this striker from a small South American country comparable to the three World Cup predecessors, Eusebio, Rossi, and Salenko. It is a pity that Valencia seems destined only to become a civilian hero. At the age of 33, he appears to be born for the World Cup – after all, in his most golden years of 2014-2017, he once played in the Premier League as the main force of West Ham, plus the period the loan to Everton, He has played more than 80 games in the Premier League. Still, the total number of goals is only 14! It can’t be compared with his scoring rate in the World Cup.

Ecuador, which was deeply involved in the forgery of players before the World Cup, was almost deprived of its qualification for the World Cup. In the end, the International Court of Arbitration allowed Ecuador to continue participating, but the next World Cup qualifiers will be deducted 3 points in advance. Under such an unfavorable background, Ecuador has united as one, showing its “hard power” to the world. It has to be said that this small South American team has become the most dazzling civilian team in the early stages of this World Cup.


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