Qatar 2022 is on. Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-time record goal, Brazil’s dance victory and the equally striking parity between Uruguayans and Koreans meant the closing of an exciting first date in a World Cup that already proved to be anti-forecast. And the second day will begin this Saturday, with an anticipated final between Ecuador Y Netherlands.

La Tri, with important psychological work, arrives more than confident after the comfortable 2-0 victory against the host in the opening match. With Enner Valencia and Carlos Gruezo physically touched, they will have a hard stop against the Dutch, who suffered more than one capsize against Senegal, but won the match by the same score. Why is this duel so important?

Both Gustavo Alfaro and Louis van Gaal threw flowers in the preview and opted for moderation, in a match that could throw the first classified into the round of 16 in case of having a winner (and also depending on what the Qataris and Senegalese do previously in the Al Thumama stadium).

The goal of moving forward and something else

And although the 32 selected only have their minds set on advancing among the two best in the area, it is inevitable with the passing of the results to look and speculate with the position of leader and the eventual benefit of running into the second in the other sector. In this case, England dominates by hierarchy, history and also by points, being the only one that won over the United States, Wales (both with one for the tie with each other) and an Iran, which does not add units. Ecuadorians and Dutch dream of succeeding and try to avoid the British in the possible direct elimination.

The keys of the meeting

“The match puts us in a place where we have everything to win and nothing to lose. It is not a fact that one knows. You see what’s ahead. But I am very confident with what my team has shown”, commented Gustavo Alfaro at the press conference prior to the crossing with the Netherlands.

Of his rival on duty, the Professor analyzed: “It is a well-understood selection, with individual abilities to solve what the team cannot. You have to fight the game, when you play against a great, you must be on all fronts: soccer, physical, mental. A ball defines.”

And that’s how it happened to the Europeans in their debut, but with two balls. He had a hard time, he had Andries Noppert as a leading figure with three or four goal balls that he took, he didn’t manage to keep much possession and the screams came towards the enddue to failures by the African team and especially by goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, with weak responses in goals from Cody Gakpo (85′) and Davy Klaassen (99′).

And in La Tri they light candles for Enner Valencia, the World Cup scorer who with two celebrations gave the team the victory over Qatar. “The trauma is very severe and leaves aftertastes. We’ll try to see this afternoon. If it’s because of him, he would play. He always did it whenever we needed him. We’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think I tell it. We hope that today he responds well to see if we have it for the start, for the end or we don’t have it”, Alfaro maintained about a key piece, which although it has a replacement, its possible absence could mean a change of tactical drawing to neutralize the Dutch.

“We have not defined if we are going to play with a line of three. Since we arrived in Quito we have been working on it to have an alternative. It doesn’t mean we use it.”warned the Professor, who would also bet on the speed of Romario Ibarra and Gonzalo Plata on the wings, one of the weak points in the European team against the Senegalese.

Ecuador, against other historical brands

Just as in this World Cup La Tri left behind the unbeaten streak with respect to the host countries, against the Netherlands there will be other statistics to break. The first, history with each other, that has the Europeans with a win and a draw in their favor.

It is that the Dutch are unbeaten in their last 14 group stage games in the tournament; only Germany (16 between 1990 and 2010) and Brazil have had longer unbeaten streaks in the tournament. In turn, Louis van Gaal did not lose in any of his eight World Cup matches (6 wins and 2 draws, excluding penalty shootouts).

The possible formations

This Friday the 25th, starting at 11 in Ecuador, La Tri will be facing what on paper is the most complicated duel in the group stage. At the Khalifa International Stadium, they will face off against the Netherlands National Team. Although it is not confirmed, Alfaro would go out on the field with Hernan Galindez; Ángelo Preciado, Félix Torres, Piero Hincapié, Pervis Estupiñán; Gonzalo Plata, Jhegson Méndez, Gruezo or Alan Franco, Moisés Caicedo; Enner Valencia or Ángel Mena and Michael Estrada.

In turn, the Dutch team that dreams of winning its first World Cup, would go with Andries Noppert; Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Aké; Denzel Dumfries, Steven Berghuis, Frenkie de Jong, Daley Blind; Cody Gakpo, Janssen or Depay and Steven Bergwijn.


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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