The Netherlands look to make it two wins from two in the group stages of the World Cup on Friday when they face Ecuador. Kick-off is at 16:00 BST.

The performance wasn’t great, but the Netherlands got off to the perfect start when they defeated Senegal 2-0 on Monday.

The Netherlands missed chances but eventually, they got the win thanks to late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen.

Louis van Gaal is now expecting an even tougher test against Ecuador, telling his press conference, “I think Ecuador is an opponent that is even more organized than Senegal, that they have smarter players than Senegal. That makes them an even more dangerous opponent.”

Ecuador opened their tournament with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Qatar with striker Enner Valencia scoring both goals.

Ecuador qualifed for the tournament after finishing fourth in the South American qualification process. They drew at home to Argentina and Brazil during the qualifiers.

The winner of this tie is almost assured of a place in the next round. In the group’s other game, Qatar host Senegal at 13:00 BST.

Team News

Van Gaal was keeping his starting eleven a secret during his press conference on Thursday but some changes are expected for the clash against Ecuador.

Matthijs de Ligt struggled against Senegal so Jurrien Timber could come into the eleven, while Teun Koopmeiners may start in midfield.

Memphis Depay is possibly not fit enough to start, meaning Cody Gakpo could be pushed further forward.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Noppert, Dumfries, Blind, Timber, van Dijk, Ake, De Jong, Koopmeiners, Berghuis, Bergwijn, Gakpo

Ecuador are sweating over the fitness of star striker Enner Valencia, who came off during the win over Senegal. However, the Fenerbahce star is still expected to be in the XI.

Moisés Caicedo is the star of the Ecuador midfield and the Brighton star will be the one to watch.

Possible Ecuador line-up: Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Plata, Caicedo, Mendez, Ibarra; Sarmiento; Valencia

Odds

Netherlands 18/25 Draw 13/5 Ecuador 17/4

Head to Head

The two nations have met twice before with Oranje winning 1-0 in 2006 before a World Cup warm-up in 2014 ended 1-1.

Can the Netherlands secure a huge victory?

Senegal was a tough test for the Netherlands and Ecuador could be even tougher with the South American side highly rated and full of talented players.

Oranje will need to be better in possession and make fewer mistakes at the back. If they can win the midfield battle then that could prove to be crucial in a game that would be huge to win for Van Gaal.

If the Netherlands can secure the three points then it would allow Van Gaal to make some changes ahead of Qatar next Tuesday.




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