Ecuador vs Netherlands Prediction
25th November 2022
19:00 Qatar Time/16:00 GMT
Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Ecuador vs Netherlands Prediction Match Overview
Ecuador vs Netherlands promises to be a fasincating encounter. Both teams will be pleased with their results in their opening matches. Ecuador easily beat a disappointing Qatar in the tournament’s opening match, never having to get out of first gear. Two goals from forward Enner Valencia sealed the victory. The Netherlands played a tricky game against Senegal. However, a late header from Cody Gakpo and a finish from substitute Davy Klaassen following an Edouard Mendy mistake got them the points. Now both teams come face to face on Friday night, looking to effectively seal qualification to the round of sixteen.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Valencia, Gruezo (Ecuador)
Will not play:
Ecuador vs Netherlands Prediction Analysis
After impressively winning their opening matches, a potential winner of this contest would take control of the group heading into their final game. Both teams are likely to be unchanged, with the possible exception of Memphis Depay coming in for Vincent Janssen up front for the Dutch. Ecuador will likely line up in the same 4-4-2 formation they did in the first game. However, wingers Romario Ibarra and Gonzalo Plata can come narrow to make a three with Moises Caicedo and Sebas Mendez. This tactic would effectively turn the formation into a 4-3-3 with Enner Valencia or Michael Estrada moving wide. Ecuador are, therefore, very fluid in their movement and shape. Qatar were very poor in the opening match, so it might not be easy to gauge just how good Ecuador are. Equally, Senegal showed some spark in attack against the Dutch through Ismaila Sarr. However, they lacked an end product, so it remains to be seen how the Netherlands will cope with a finisher of Valencia’s quality.
The midfield battle should be intriguing. Mendez is an energetic and buzzy destroyer for Ecuador. Equally, Mosies Caicedo has an abundance of physicality and technical ability. They must press Frenkie de Jong and try to force him into mistakes. If they do this, they can win the ball in the Dutch half and supply the forwards. Plata will look to come on to Daley Blind in the Dutch left-wing back position, and Blind will know he cannot be too adventurous as Plata is a good dribbler and very tricky. The wingers will look to come inside the wing-backs and attack the Dutch back three. They will be supported in this by the marauding Pervis Estupinan and Angelo Preciado at full-back. Virgil Van Dijk is a highly talented, calm, and composed defender. However, he will have his hands full in dealing with Valencia. The latter has already demonstrated that he is a predator and lethal on the ground and in the air. Indeed, his club form this season further reinforces that assessment. Ecuador will try to use their trickery, power, and directness to force mistakes and overloads against the more technical Dutch.
For the Netherlands going forward, de Jong is crucial to controlling the match and ensuring that the Dutch have the platform to isolate their front three with the Ecuadorian defence. He is the one who makes the team tick, and he must receive the ball from the back three and initiate attacks. De Jong must also be resilient under pressure to play through the lines and break the Ecuadorian press. If he and Berghuis can control the game, they can get the ball to the front free of Depay, Cody Gakpo, and Steven Bergwijn. This attack is very pacey and possesses not inconsiderable guile and dribbling ability. Gakpo proved he could attack the ball in the match against Qatar, and Depay’s goal record proves he is a threat. Felix Torres and the talented Piero Hincapie must be mindful at centre-back to stop the Dutch front three. In offence, Hincapie must also try to start attacks with his cultured left foot by feeding the ball to the Ecuadorian midfield. Denzel Dumfries is a great attacking instrument for the Dutch. The marauding wing-back can attack the space that Estupinan leaves behind. Indeed, that entire side of the pitch looks intriguing. There are attacking full-backs on either side, and Valencia and Depay are likely to drift out to that wing too. The width could be as crucial in deciding the match as the midfield battle.
Both teams have options to change things. Carlos Gruezo could come on in midfield for Ecuador if he is fit. There is also the intelligence of Alan Franco and the pace and dribbling ability of Jeremy Sarmiento, amongst other options. Indeed, the latter looked impressive when he came on against Qatar. The Dutch could bring on or even start with Teun Koopmeiners or Marten de Roon, who represent a more defensive and natural midfield presence than Berghuis. The elegant youngster Xavi Simons is also a creative attacking midfield option. They can also bring on Davy Klaassen, who has consistently proved he can make runs into the box from midfield. If they decide to go long, they can introduce Vincent Janssen or Wout Weghorst as a target man.
Ecuador Key Players
Valencia is a fitness doubt going into the match due to the rough treatment he received from the Qataris. However, assuming he plays, he showed more than enough in that match to prove that he is clinical and crucial to Ecuador’s chances of a result against the Dutch. He will look to drift wide left and link up with Estupinan and Caicedo to isolate Dumfries and drag the Dutch midfielders out of position. As an intelligent player with good positioning, Valencia can also find space in the box and try to escape his markers. If he can do this, he can be found with crosses, or little slide-rule passes in behind the Dutch back three. That back three is very tall and imposing. However, Valencia has proved he can find the space to fool larger opponents and get shots against the inexperienced Andries Noppert in the Dutch goal.
Given the considerable threat going forward of Denzel Dumfries, the attacking Estupinan may be pinned back and more restrained than he would like. He is a very positive full-back, but as stated, that entire side is likely to be crucial. He will likely have his hands full with any combination of Dumfries, Depay, Bergwijn, and Gakpo. He must be aided defensively by Hincapie, Caicedo and Mendez as the Dutch will look to take control of the game. He needs to be diligent in his tackling and intercepting and not lose concentration for a moment. When Ecuador do have the ball, he must get forward to support Ibarra and Valencia down that side and try to expose any space Dumfries leaves. He is a very fit and physically strong player and has the stamina to get up and down the pitch.
Netherlands Key Players
Frenkie de Jong
De Jong will be involved in a midfield battle with the impressive Caicedo, which could be vital to deciding the outcome of this game. He will have to be brave in the face of the Ecuador press to open up space to play in Dumfries and the Dutch front three. His ability to dribble and drive with the ball will also be necessary on transitions where Ecuador leave themselves over-exposed. Defensively, he must help Dumfries and cover the space when the wing-back goes forward. He must also screen the defence and not allow Caicedo and Mendez to play the ball between the lines for the Ecuadorian wingers. De Jong is the complete modern midfielder and has the ability to run this game for the Dutch. If the Dutch midfield can take control, it will disturb the Ecuadorians’ rhythm.
Depay couldn’t start the first game against Senegal due to injury. However, he did come on and instantly gave the Dutch a different threat from tall but limited target man Vincent Janssen. Depay’s pace, dribbling and movement should cause significant problems for Torres and Hincapie. He will also drift wide to both the left and right as he has a license to roam. Preciado and Estupinan will find it difficult to go forward in this event as they will know of Depay’s threat in the spaces they vacate. Depay will also look to link up with Gakpo and Bergwijn to open up Ecuador. Furthermore, he will drop deep sometimes to receive the ball from Berghuis and de Jong on the half-turn to dribble at the Ecuador defence. Depay’s inclusion would give the Dutch more threat and Ecuador more to think about defensively.
Ecuador vs Netherlands Prediction
This match promises to be fascinating. It is difficult to glean much from Ecuador’s opening game as Qatar were so abject. Ecuador had 60 per cent possession, whereas the Dutch had 55 per cent against Senegal. However, Ecuador tend to be a direct, fast, and powerful team who are good from set pieces and will be happy to concede possession and look to hurt the Dutch on transitions. We expect the Netherlands to have more of the ball, but Ecuador are certainly dangerous. Ecuador will try to get in behind Dumfries and Blind and isolate their forward players with the Dutch back three. It might be close, but we predict a narrow Dutch win.