Striker contest looming as Dutch face Ecuador at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — 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 kinds — Valencia is extra highly effective and direct, Depay extra delicate and expert — however are equally necessary 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 aspect’s targets 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 increasing his report as La Tri’s all-time main scorer.

Though he got here off in opposition to Qatar after taking a knock to his knee, coach Gustavo Alfaro says “Enner will play in opposition to the Netherlands, there isn’t any 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 targets 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.

In spite of everything, the 28-year-old Depay performed an enormous half in serving to his nation qualify, netting 12 targets and 6 assists. No different European participant had extra targets and assists mixed.

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

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

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 targets got here on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the place Valencia additionally netted twice in the course of the competitors. Neither ahead performed on the final World Cup as a result of their nations did not qualify.

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

Valencia has been in nice type with 13 targets in 12 league video games for Turkish aspect Fenerbahce. However Depay’s thigh drawback saved 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 in opposition to Senegal for his third purpose of the yr with the Oranje.

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

“He is aware of methods to rating targets and may be very agile,” Van Gaal mentioned.

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

“We will solely enhance,” he mentioned.

Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert, who performs for unheralded Dutch aspect Heerenveen, pulled off three saves in opposition to Senegal on his worldwide debut.

He’ll likely be referred to as into motion once more if Enner is on type.


AP World Cup protection: and


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