Striker contest looming as Dutch face Ecuador at World Cup

The competition between Ecuador striker Enner Valencia and Netherlands ahead Memphis Depay might assist determine who wins their match on the World Cup on Friday.

The 2 forwards have totally different types — Valencia is extra highly effective and direct, Depay extra refined and expert — however are equally vital to their sides. A win for both crew would transfer it onto six factors and put it answerable for Group A with one sport to play.

Valencia scored each of his facet’s objectives within the first half when it beat match host Qatar 2-0 within the match’s opening sport, taking his worldwide tally to 37 and lengthening his report as La Tri’s all-time main scorer.

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Though he got here off towards Qatar after taking a knock to his knee, coach Gustavo Alfaro says “Enner will play towards the Netherlands, there is no such thing as a doubt about that.”

Getting back from a nagging hamstring damage, Depay got here on within the second half to spark the assault because the Dutch scored two late objectives to beat Senegal 2-0.

Though Depay might once more be decisive off the bench, he’ll be hoping coach Louis van Gaal offers him a beginning place.

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In any case, the 28-year-old Depay performed a large half in serving to his nation qualify, netting 12 objectives and 6 assists. No different European participant had extra objectives and assists mixed.

“He’s a participant who could make the distinction,” Van Gaal stated. “He’ll wish to play, however I’ve to evaluate his kind.”

Nevertheless, Van Gaal hinted that he might make an exception.

“The damage he had makes it tough to start out. To begin with, you have a look at 45 minutes. Then we have a look at a call if he performs 90 minutes,” Van Gaal stated by way of an interpreter. “However I’ve put aside my rules a bit as a result of I take into account him to be a rare participant.”

Depay has added incentive to start out as a result of he wants another objective to succeed in 43 worldwide objectives.

That might transfer him one previous striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar — nicknamed “The Hunter” for his ruthless ending — on the record of all-time main scorers for the nationwide crew. Depay shouldn’t be distant from Robin van Persie’s report of fifty.

The primary two of Depay’s worldwide objectives got here on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the place Valencia additionally netted twice throughout the competitors. Neither ahead performed on the final World Cup as a result of their nations didn’t qualify.

Heading into this World Cup, their membership varieties have differed vastly.

Valencia has been in nice kind with 13 objectives in 12 league video games for Turkish facet Fenerbahce. However Depay’s thigh downside stored him out for 2 months, and he performed solely three video games for Spanish league chief Barcelona earlier than heading to Qatar.

If Depay isn’t match sufficient to start out the match at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium in Al Rayyan, then Van Gaal is assured he can depend on Cody Gakpo, who scored towards Senegal for his third objective of the 12 months with the Oranje.

He’s carried out effectively for PSV Eindhoven this season with 13 objectives in 24 video games.

“He is aware of learn how to rating objectives and could be very agile,” Van Gaal stated. ”I do know for positive he can develop into a star.”

The 71-year-old Van Gaal stated earlier than the match that he believed his facet can lastly win the World Cup, after dropping three finals. However he expects a greater efficiency on Friday than within the opening victory.

“We will solely enhance,” he stated.

Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert, who performs for unheralded Dutch facet Heerenveen, pulled off three saves towards Senegal on his worldwide debut.

He’ll probably be known as into motion once more if Enner is on kind.

However Alfaro intends to take the sport to the Dutch and, after Argentina and Germany endured shock defeats, he needs to make it a hat trick of World Cup upsets.

“Tomorrow is a sport we’re imagined to lose. (The Netherlands) are right here to develop into world champions, not simply to see how far they’ll get,” Alfaro stated Thursday by way of an interpreter. “That places us in our place the place now we have nothing to lose. I’m assured given what we’ve proven thus far. We have to knock them off their sport.”

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