Netherlands are all but through to the knockout stages of the World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Ecuador at the Khalifa international stadium.
Both teams won their opening games with a 2-0 scoreline, with Ecuador defeating hosts Qatar and Netherlands seeing off Senegal. A win for either team in this would see them qualify for the round of 16 and the Dutch were on their way with an early goal from Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old is now just the second Dutch player to score in his first two FIFA World Cup appearances, after Memphis Depay in 2014.
However, Ecuador grew into the game and became the more threatening side, keeping the Netherlands to no other shot on goal for the entire game. Just before halftime, the South Americans thought they had scored but the goal from Brighton’s Pervis Estupiñán’s was ruled out by VAR.
Eventually, their goal would come in the second half when captain Enner Valencia slotted home his third goal of the tournament past Dutch goalkeeper, Andries Noppert.
The result leaves Netherlands and Ecuador joint top of Group A on four points, Senegal one point behind in third and hosts Qatar the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.
For Ecuador, a draw in their final game against African champions Senegal would be enough to get them in the second round. The Netherlands would expect to secure first place with a positive result against Qatar.