Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

important events

Qatar – Senegal: Bamba Dieng gave Senegal a 3-1 lead against Qatar with just six minutes to go. Jig looks good and really good for the home side despite a much better second half performance.

Qatar – Senegal: Mohammed Muntari has just come off the bench and scored a header against Senegal for Qatar, reducing the home country’s deficit to one goal. They’re down 2-1 with 10 minutes (and the rest) and they need another goal or they won’t qualify for the knockout stages. Boulaye Dia and Famara Diédhiou gave Senegal a 2-0 lead.

Gustavo Alfaro speaks: “We have a lot to gain and nothing to lose,” Ecuador’s manager said ahead of today’s game. “I’m happy with my team. But the Netherlands are a great opponent. We have to be strong on all fronts emotionally and physically and we have to push them until they’re off the field. What we did against Qatar is not enough against the Netherlands or Senegal, we need to improve.”

Gustavo Alfaro addresses the press alongside Ecuadorian midfielder Sebastian Mendez.
Gustavo Alfaro addresses the press alongside Ecuadorian midfielder Sebastian Mendez. Photo: Raúl Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal speaks: “Ecuador is a stable team,” the Dutch manager said at the pre-match press conference. “Physically they are strong, cunning players with very smart players, so I believe they are more resilient than Senegal.”

When asked if there are any protests the OneLove armband campaign and team have planned for today, Van Gaal said so. “”Number. Last Thursday, after all the political issues, we put the point. We have this purpose and we will not tarnish it with the actions of FIFA or any other organisation. But I already answered … I think that’s enough.

Louis Van Gaal (left) and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk examine the surroundings of the Khalifa Stadium yesterday.
Louis Van Gaal (left) and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk examine the surroundings of the Khalifa Stadium yesterday. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Today’s match officials

  • Judge: Mustafa Ghorbal

  • Assistant referees: Mokrane Gourari and Abdelhak Etchial

  • Fourth Referee: Martinez said

  • Video Assistant Referee: Shaun Evans

Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal leads today's squad of match officials.
Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal leads today’s squad of match officials. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Early team news

Memphis Depay, who was not deemed fit enough to start the Senegal game in the Netherlands, is 30 minutes behind the bench and can start as Vincent Janssen today. Louis van Gaal is expected to field an otherwise unchanged starting eleven.

Two-goal hero Enner Valencia, who was kicked out with a knee injury 15 minutes before his team beat Qatar, is expected to be ready for the first match for Ecuador. “Enner will play against the Netherlands, there’s no doubt about it,” said his manager, Gustavo Alfaro.

Enner Valencia, who scored twice against Qatar, is expected to play against the Netherlands this afternoon.
Enner Valencia, who scored twice against Qatar, is expected to play against the Netherlands this afternoon. Photo: Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Group A: Netherlands v Ecuador

Khalifa International Stadium is the venue for the second of today’s Group A matches, where the Netherlands will face Ecuador. Both sides won their opening games, with Ecuador recording a routine win against host Qatar that lifted the tournament curtains, while the Netherlands were late to see Senegal a day later. Both sides, especially the Netherlands, which will face Qatar in the last group match, will clearly evaluate their chances to advance to the qualifying stages.

The home nation, which appears to be by far the weakest team in the group, is currently losing against Senegal elsewhere in Doha and will need pool to qualify for the next stage of the tournament if they don’t get anything out of the game. Kick-off at Khalifa is at 16:00 but in the meantime stay tuned for team news and development.