2022 World Cup hosts Qatar are eliminated as The Netherlands draw 1-1 with Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium, in Al Rayyan.
Cody Gakpo got the Dutch off to the perfect start with a goal after just six minutes. A despairing Ecuadorian backpass came to Davy Klaassen. The Ajax midfielder delayed his pass as Gakpo raced into a gap on the edge of the box. Gakpo took the pass and slapped his left-footed shot into the top corner.
Ecuador’s response was long in coming, but when it did, only Virgil van Dijk’s brilliance kept them at bay. Again and again, the Liverpool defender was perfectly positioned to keep the Dutch clean sheet intact.
The South Americans did seem to equalise in first-half stoppage time, when Pervis Estupinan flicked Angelo Preciado’s long-range shot into the net but it was ruled out for offside. Jackson Porozo was standing directly in front of Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert.
Five minutes after the break, Ecuador did get their equaliser. Enner Valencia pounced after Noppert could only parry Estupinan’s low shot. The South Americans dominated from there.
Gonzalo Plata hammered a shot against the bar, Michael Estrada scuffed a shot from virtually the penalty spot and Ecuador continued to knock on the door.
The Dutch looked ragged, but managed to weather the storm and hold on for a point which may yet be crucial.