KHALIFA STADIUM, Qatar – The desire of the so-called weaker teams to move further up the field to win the ball in enemy territory has perhaps been one of the World Cup’s most remarkable features. Prior to the start of the World Cup, Arsene Wenger, the head of FIFA’s global football development, claimed that pressing has certainly become widespread everywhere. And when a team lacks the individual talent to compete on the ball, forcing the issue off the ball has proven to be a useful tactic for teams that have changed their strategy.
Instead of winning the ball back in a defensive area and then having to endure constant attacks, the emphasis is on winning the ball back in areas of the field where teams may pose an attacking threat and utilize the brief amount of possession they receive.
On the match
Enner Valencia, a seasoned striker for Ecuador who scored twice on the first day of the World Cup, started against the Netherlands on Friday in the matchup of the Group A co-leaders. While the Dutch made three changes, forward Memphis Depay remained on the bench as he continued his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury and is expected to have an impact in the second half. Ecuador made one change, replacing Romario Ibarra in defense with Jackson Porozo.
Following their World Cup Group A match at Al Thumama Stadium on Friday, Senegal attackers Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou, and Bamba Dieng scored goals to secure a well-deserved 3-1 victory against Qatar and push the home nation dangerously close to elimination. While Qatar currently has 0 points and would be eliminated from the competition if Netherlands defeats Ecuador or that game ends in a draw later on Friday, Senegal has three points from their two games and will play Ecuador in their last pool match on Tuesday. Iran defeated Wales 2-0 in the opening encounter, which was seen as a game they had to win in order to move up to second place in Group B.
Along with Virgil van Dijk (team captain), Andries Noppert, Daley Blind, Nathan Ake, Jurrien Timber, Denzel Dumfries, Davy Klaassen, Teun Koopmeiners,Football Frenkie de Jong, Steven Bergwijn, and Cody Gakpo are all Netherlands players.
Angelo Preciado, Jackson Porozo, Gonzalo Plata, Moises Caicedo, Jhegson Mendez, and Enner Valencia are some of the players for Ecuador. Felix Torres, Piero Hincapie, Pervis Estupinan, Michael Estrada, Hernan Galindez, and Angelo Preciado are others.
The Netherlands had to wait until the 84th minute of a close encounter against Senegal to score their first goal of the tournament, while Ecuador scored twice in the opening 31 minutes of their Group A opener against Qatar to seal the victory. In the middle of the field, there were clear openings to take advantage of, and Senegal was given opportunities by a few strange errors. The three-time finalists will be put to the same high press test by Ecuador.
As a long ball from the Ecuador half approaches, Nathan Ake moves up front to assume his attacking responsibilities, and Virgil Van Dijk assumes his position to the left. The Ecuadorian move starts after the Dutch captain attempts to side foot it but fails to clear it. The Dutch are able to react after Moses Caicedo places the ball for Enner Valencia in the box.
Enner Valencia is only a decent pass away from setting up Pervis Estupinan in acres of space after a fantastic interchange in the center area outside the Dutch box. That’s not it, though. The Oranje’s slow defense gives the Ecuadorian number seven another chance, and he is able to cross the ball in, forcing Virgil van Dijk to head the ball away while being pressured by Michael Estrada in front of his own goal. This is much, much better from the CONMEBOL country, and the Dutch are now aware of it.
The Ecuadorian athletes understand this. As a result, Gonzalo Plata stopped a run by de Jong before Barcelona. The fourth official indicated an extension of three minutes. Given the overall standard of this World Cup thus far, that is blasphemous.