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J.J. Pavlick


The battle for 1st place should be a fun one today, both sides come into the match with a win and a +2-goal differential. The two are set to finish the bracket off strong and head to the knockout rounds. Now if one should fall by a big margin, it does open the door for an upset, however, given the makeup of the squads seeing a large goal difference in victory would be equal to an upset.

The game is underway with a packed house in Qatar, Ecuador starts with the kickoff for the 1st half. It took the Dutch 6' to get on the score sheet inside the near post from distance for Gakpo. The shot was an absolute laser beam into the back of the net, 'the keeper stood no chance of stopping it. 1-0 Netherlands will the route start, or game settle down? Ecuador has been piling on the threats, but the Dutch backline has withstood the challenges. In the 33' The Dutch 'keeper, Noppert came up with a huge save to preserve the 1-0 lead. The Dutch have had a few counters but are not able to find the final touch on them. Ecuador strikes but the AR and CR agree the striker was offside on the play and interfered with the keeper to earn the call-in extra time of the first half. The end of half score stands at 1-0 Netherlands, the Dutch will need to find the magic they had at the start of the match, otherwise, they could be on the losing end in this match. They started strong but since Gakpo's goal, they've struggled to get much going in the Ecuador final third.

Ecuador wastes no time and scores in the 49' Valencia taps a rebound into the back of the net to tie the game up at 1-1. The Dutch continue to be outplayed since their opening goal in the 1st half of play. In the 79' the match remains tied at one goal apiece, a win, and the Dutch will be the first team to advance to the round of 16. In the final minutes of the game the score remains tied, the 4th official shows a minimum of 6' added. The game ends in a tie, both walk away with a point and should advance after their next match.

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