The Netherlands and Ecuador lock horns at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha for the second round of fixtures in this pivotal Group A clash. With each team winning their opening match, three points for either side here will see them with one foot in the knockout stages heading into the third and final group stage match. The Netherlands earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Senegal in their opening match after finally making the breakthrough courtesy of a Cody Gakpo goal in the 84th minute. The Dutch added a second goal deep into stoppage time but might consider themselves somewhat fortunate, as Senegal played well and could've taken something from the match on a different day.
Ecuador come into this one after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Qatar in a match that they controlled from start to finish. The tiny host nation clearly looked overwhelmed by the occasion and didn’t play anywhere near to the form that they displayed in the build up to the tournament. The Ecuadorians did what was required of them with two goals by way of captain Enner Valencia and have now established themselves as significant favorites over Senegal and Qatar to earn qualification to the round of 16. They will face their biggest challenge of the group in this one however, with the Dutch coming into this match as firm favorites over La Tri.
Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal is expected to return star striker Memphis Depay to the starting 11 after the Barcelona man came off the bench against Senegal due to questions over his fitness. Depay was brilliant for the Oranje in their World Cup qualifying campaign, with his 12 strikes accounting for 36% of the Netherland’s total goals. On the other side, manager Gustavo Alfaro will be sweating the fitness of matchday one hero Enner Valencia after the 33-year-old limped off in the 77th minute. Valencia’s absence would come as a major blow as he is not only Ecuador’s captain, but their record goalscorer as well with 37 goals in 75 appearances for his country.
We’re going to back under 2.5 goals to be scored as our bet for this match. Ecuador have proven their defensive resoluteness in the buildup to the World Cup which they were able to carry over into the opening match. The Dutch as well have shown improvements on that side of the game with their current streak of clean sheets ending a previous run of six consecutive games where they had conceded. Ecuador would certainly take a point if offered one before the match while the Netherlands likely would not view a draw as a terrible result with a matchup against Qatar still to come. Ultimately, the return of a key attacking piece for the Dutch in Memphis Depay coupled with the possibility of Ecuador’s Enner Valencia missing out means the Oranje should edge this one, It's likely to be a tight match that will see under 2.5 goals scored. A side bet on a 1-0 win for the Dutch may also be a winning one.
If you want more information and predictions, check out the Netherlands vs Ecuador prediction and betting tips at Sportytrader.