IT’S clash of the Group A table-toppers to look forward to on Friday afternoon.
Holland and Ecuador both secured wins in their first matches to sit level on three points apiece.
Both clubs harbour ambitions of reaching the last 16, being in the same group as Senegal and Qatar.
And while many pundits tipped the hosts to snatch a spot in the knockout stages, Ecuador are in pole position to join Holland in the latter part of this winter’s tournament.
A win for either side would send them through, while a draw could ultimately prove sufficient to see them both progress.
Take a look at SunSport’s in-depth preview of the big game… including scoreline prediction.
How are they getting on?
Holland: In a nutshell, solid if unspectacular.
The Dutch navigated their way past a tricky Senegal team, but needed two very late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen to snatch all three points.
Read the full Senegal vs Holland report…
Ecuador: Flew out of the gate on the back of a quickfire Enner Valencia double against hosts Qatar.
The South Americans had another goal disallowed early doors and looked lively, although they did – perhaps understandably – take their foot off the accelerator in the second half.
Read the full Qatar vs Ecuador report…
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Any injuries to worry about?
Holland: None for Louis van Gaal… but he’s likely to make changes.
Among them, Memphis Depay is expected to be passed fit to play and will almost-certainly take over from Vincent Janssen in attack.
Ecuador: Worryingly, yes. And it’s a big one.
Valencia is a concern going into the second game after his opening-day heroics, but boss Gustavo Alfaro is confident his leading man will be fit to start.
Who will be the star men?
Holland: A hugely talented squad featuring a host of world-class talent, but Virgil van Dijk will be key in this one.
The giant Liverpool centre-back will be tasked with keeping Valencia quiet, should he be passed fit, and Holland’s success will start at the back.
Ecuador: It’s that man, Valencia.
He looked unstoppable in the first-half against Qatar, but will face a much tougher task in Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Co.
Moises Caicedo will be vital in keeping Ecuador ticking in this one, too.
What’s the head-to-head?
These nations have played each other twice before, both in friendlies.
Holland won their 2006 meeting 1-0, before the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Holland 2 Ecuador 0
Source: The Sun
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