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Ecuador Predicted Lineup vs Netherlands: Waiting on “Superman”

Jhegson Mendez, pictured on the pitch, is part of the Ecuador predicted lineup

Ecuador will wait until the last possible moment to decide whether their captain, Enner Valencia, will be fit enough to play through an apparent knee injury in their crucial second Group A match against the Netherlands on Friday, November 25 at Khalifa International Stadium. Valencia scored a brace to lead his nation to a 2-0 win in the World Cup opener against host nation Qatar and became Ecuador’s tournament goal leader in the process, but he came off injured in the 77th minute and faces a race against time to recover. Questions about the man Ecuadorians call “Superman” make an Ecuador predicted lineup challenging to call, as Valencia is central to their plans. Head Coach Gustavo Alfaro will surely be hoping Superman can be called upon come game time in a massive test that will most likely decide who will take control of Group A. If the captain can’t play, who will step up for Ecuador?

Ecuador Predicted Lineup vs Netherlands for Group A control

Alfaro fools Qatar with formation

Alfaro surprised everyone, including us who called a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 in our opening Ecuador predicted lineup, by rolling out an attack-heavy 4-4-2 that resulted in a 2-0 win. While Ecuador has said it will respect its rival for this second Group A match that might determine who wins it, Midfielder Jhegson Méndez, has told reporters in Ecuador’s pre-game press conference, “we have weapons too.” This most likely means that Ecuador will take the fight to the Netherlands, albeit cautiously. As mentioned above, how they do it will largely depend on Valencia’s availability. If he is fit, Alfaro will probably send out an unchanged starting 11. Alfaro could be tempted to revert to the 4-3-2-1 he used during qualifying if Valencia isn’t.

“The tests showed that he doesn’t have an injury, but the trauma is very serious. We’ll have a look at him this afternoon and decide,” Alfaro said in the same FIFA presser. “I said the other day that not even fire could stop Enner. If it’s up to him, he will play. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and hope he responds well in this afternoon’s training.”

Will Superman fly? It just might be Alfaro’s second surprise during this tournament.

Read MoreDazzling Dutch Looks Set to Win Group A

Ecuador’s Form in Group A opener and Tactics

Ecuador largely cantered to an assured 2-0 win over Qatar that most international press agreed spoiled the host nation’s party. Within 31 first-half minutes, La Tri had secured its win and then took its foot off the gas in what resembled an exhibition match. The Netherlands, though, will be a different proposition altogether. The Oranje have world beaters in their squad like Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. Louis van Gaal’s team has not lost in 16 matches in all competitions and took out a very good Senegal side 2-0 in the own opener. Although they labored at moments in comparison to Ecuador’s performance, it can be agreed that Qatar definitely isn’t Senegal on the pitch.

Despite this, Alfaro insists Ecuador doesn’t feel any pressure, as they “only depend on themselves.” The Argentinian coach compared it to games against his host country or Brazil during CONMEBOL qualifying. “We have everything to win and nothing to lose,” Alfaro claimed. He acknowledged that Ecuador’s performance against Qatar would not be enough against Senegal or their next rival, the Netherlands. Alfaro said his team had another level to reach and would improve as the tournament progressed. They must, he explained, or lose against the expected Group winners.

“I’m happy with my team. But Holland is a big rival,” Alfaro said of the Netherlands. “We have to be strong on all fronts, emotional and physical, and run them hard until they exit the pitch.” For this reason, look for Ecuador to attack the Netherlands as their equal.

Méndez’s words about Ecuador’s weapons should ring in Dutch ears. This could very well be the World Cup that the Netherlands stops flattering to deceive. They’ll have to go through Ecuador first, however.

Read More: Netherlands World Cup Preview: Dutch Hope to Stop Flattering to Deceive

Ecuador Injuries to Consider

The big one is Valencia. Team doctor Camilo Chiquito called Valencia’s injury, “a light sprain,” and that any decision regarding Superman’s involvement would come down to how the Fenerbahçe striker recovered this week. Carlos Gruezo seems to have recovered and was named to Ecuador’s bench for its opener, although he did not feature. While Brighton & Hove Albion’s Jeremy Sarmiento allayed injury fears by coming on as a 68th-minute substitute against Qatar.

Ecuador Predicted Lineup


Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Plata, Méndez, Caicedo, Ibarra; Valencia, Estrada

Embed from Getty Images

Alfaro claimed, “only fire” could keep Superman from flying, so look for Valencia to start and play in this crucial match. Ecuador’s Head Coach will put out an unchanged starting 11 in a 4-4-2.


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