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May 17, 2014
• 2:30 PM
• Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
Referee: P. Kralovec
• Attendance: 50000
R. van Persie 37'
J. Montero 9'
That's it from me, it's been a pleasure.
Something of a bore draw in the end. After an enterprising opening to the game that promised so much and saw Ecuador take the lead, there was nothing more to set the pulses racing apart from Van Persie's well taken leveler. In fact, Ecuador may be counting the cost of this game as Caicedo succumbed to an injury, while his replacement, Wila, also had to be stretchered off. A goal apiece it finishes at the Amsterdam ArenA.
90' + 4'
And that is that folks.
90' + 3'
The Oranje hold onto possession for almost the entirety of the added period, and finally manage to muster a shot on goal through Wijnaldum, who cuts to the weak side of his marker and lets fly from 25 yards. Same story different time though - it's right at Banguera.
90' + 1'
Into the first of three added minutes.
Late attack from Ecuador here, and it rather predictably fizzles out into nothing. They play it too conservatively, and end up losing the ball anyway. Netherlands back on it with stoppage time upon us.
DE GUZMAN! Not a bad attempt from the substitute, who wriggles free of his marker and bends an effort on goal from the edge of the box. He has the keeper beaten, but the post as well, unfortunately for him.
No urgency on the pitch from the Netherlands, as Ecuador have all 11 men comfortably inside their own half. Not long for them to hold on now, and it's hard to begrudge them a draw, given their effort.
Van Gaal and assistant Patrick Kluivert look on unimpressed on the sidelines. Their team has been, on the whole, rather lethargic today. Time may just be slipping away for them to find a winner.
Rojas' race is run, as he departs for Achilier. The Cruz Azul man tried hard, but his team's lack of possession meant that he was left to forage for scraps for most of his time on the field.
Depay has been quietly impressive today, giving the defence a lot to think about. He sets up another chance for his side by doggedly holding onto the ball down the left and setting up a shot, but once again, Banguera does not have to move too far to smother the attempt.
Robin van Persie
Huntelaar has received his final instructions and he seems set to enter the fray. Word is that Van Persie will be the man to depart for the Schalke striker. Can he make the difference?
Patrick van Aanholt latches onto Depay's through ball and cracks a shot towards goal, but the keeper is equal to it and smothers it low comfortably. A decent effort, but he's got to put a little more oomph in chances like that.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, scorer of 34 goals for the national side, has been spotted going through his warmup on the sidelines. He's greeted with a warm reception by the Amsterdam ArenA faithful, some of who were witness to a few of his 107 goals in an Ajax shirt a few seasons back.
My gut tells me that the Oranje will manage to sneak a goal in the 18 or so minutes that remain here. They are camped high up the field, keeping Ecuador penned in around their box, but their intensity represents the very nature of this game - a friendly where no one wants to pick up a World Cup-jeopardizing injury.
OPENING FOR WIJNALDUM! The Netherlands No. 10 takes a low centre from the left on the turn, and in the process, evades his marker. He gets the ball onto his left foot for the shot, but it's deflected away for a corner. Netherlands take it short, but it ends up getting played all the way back to Cillessen, who has had nothing to do apart from fetching the ball out of the back of his own net earlier in the game.
Rare foray into the opposition half for Ecuador here, as they win a free kick that is whipped into the danger area. The defence hesitates for a second as the ball is allowed to drop, but eventually, Martins Indi gets a boot to it to put the ball out of harm's reach.
Off goes the goalscoring hero Montero, who put in an almighty shift of running up front for the South Americans. In his stead comes Jaime Ayovi, who puts in work for Tijuana in the Mexican first division.
After an understandable patchy period to the match following that spell of injuries and substitutions, the Oranje attempt to get the ball rolling again in their favour, but a speedy attack down the left flank cannot pick out Van Persie centrally. The hosts looking more capable of a winner here.
Another change for Ecuador as Gruezo comes on for Noboa. The 19-year-old only joined Stuttgart in January from Barcelona in Ecuador, and he makes his senior debut for the national side here.
Swing and a miss from Rojas on the right hand side prevents him from getting a potentially dangerous cross in before the ball goes over the byeline. The players like Rojas who have been on from the start are really starting to tire here. He's drenched in sweat.
It's Wila, the man who came on for Caicedo in the first place. And he's suffered as disappointing an end as his predecessor, being strapped to a stretcher and carted off the field in considerable distress. Another blow for Ecuador, they can't catch a break!
Thankfully for Ecuador, Caicedo has been spotted on the bench, holding an ice pack to his side. He's still in some pain, but the fact that he's able to watch the game can only be good news. But not so fast, as another Ecuadorian is down...
It's been all Oranje in the second half so far. There are more gaps appearing in the defensive third, and should they wish to force the issue, the Netherlands could well have another goal on the cards.
Depay this time pops up on the right hand side where, narrowly avoiding an offside call, he tests Banguera with a shot from a narrow angle! It was a bit too tight for him to score from there, truth be told. He would have been better served getting his head up to pick out a colleague.
Paredes and Depay have had themselves a really interesting battle out on the flanks here, clashing on the ball frequently. The Ecuadorian defender wins their latest tussle by poking the ball out for a throw to prevent a clean run down the left hand side.
Seemingly everything from a Netherlands point of view is centered on getting Van Persie the ball in a shooting position. A long raking delivery from the left is touched on deftly by the striker, but there is no one else in orange in position to attack the flick on.
The second half has picked up where the first left off, with Van Gaal's team in control of the ball and the tempo of the game. You have to wonder how long he's willing to risk Van Persie though. No changes except the enforced one from Ecuador so far.
Three changes at the break for the Netherlands, and perhaps the least surprising of those is Kongolo, who was a little tender after an injury sustained in a challenge with Caicedo. No risks taken with the World Cup just under a month away.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Patrick van Aanholt
Here we go again.
All the makings of a low risk friendly this, as both teams have generally been reluctant to over commit. They have not escaped unscathed however, as Caicedo succumbed to an injury which puts his World Cup participation in doubt. Still, goals from Montero and Van Persie have left this game finely poised for the second half.
45' + 2'
Injury time passes nearly without incident, as Janmaat takes a bit of a knock. I'm sure that Van Gaal will delay a decision on subbing him until half time, which is signaled now by the referee.
Into added time here, of which there will be two minutes.
CLOSE SHAVE! Depay nearly turns into a great shot, but after collecting Kongolo's pass brilliantly, he cannot find the target with his eventual effort. A chance out of absolutely nowhere, that.
Ecuador have had all the stuffing knocked out of them after the injury and the goal, and it seems that they are the ones hoping for the half time break before anyone else. Netherlands looking comfortable.
The substitution has been officially confirmed, as Caicedo departs the game for Wila. A double blow for Ecuador there.
Assist Jordy Clasie
Goal Robin van Persie
Right after the game restarts, the Netherlands strike back! A long ball forward from the back falls to the one man that Ecuador did not want to be anywhere near goal. Van Persie, taking advantage of the lax positioning and concentration by Guagua, side foots it straight home from close range!
VAN PERSIE TIES IT UP!
Indeed, it's as bad as first feared here for Caicedo. The stretcher has been called for, and he has been strapped to it and has to be carted off. A huge blow for Ecuador's hopes here, but more importantly, will that spell the end of his World Cup?
Now it's Ecuador's turn to have a man down here, as Caicedo is immediately attended to by the physios after pulling up off the ball. He looks to have done his hammy, and I'm not sure if he will be able to continue.
The game restarts after a momentary delay for Kongolo to receive treatment. The Feyenoord man looks like he'll be okay to continue though, and is soon back on his feet. He's moving a little gingerly so Van Gaal will doubtless keep an eye on him.
Valencia has been shown the first booking of the game for a sloppy high challenge that has left one Netherlands player on the turf in need of attention. He appeared to lead with his studs, planting them into the shoulder of Kongolo. Flashback to De Jong on Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final!
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
Caicedo goes tumbling to the ground in search of a foul against De Vrij, but the referee allows play to continue. Replays suggest that the decision was spot on, as the former Manchester City man appeared most concerned with selling the miniscule contact from the defender.
Erazo pulls off a quite superb sliding challenge to halt the momentum of Van Persie, who had strode into the box and was about to cut onto his left foot for the finish! A splendid piece of defending to frustrate the striker.
Caicedo gets the small contingent of visiting fans on their feet with a lung busting run down the right hand side, but he cannot fashion a decent end product at the end of the move. He was moving so fast, he didn't have the time to compose himself!
Van Persie is playing more as an out and out poacher in the early stages of the first half here, abandoning his usual tendency of dropping deep to link with the midfield. He's already gotten on the end of two good deliveries, so it appears to be working for now.
Hint of a chance there for Ecuador on the counter, as for a moment they had three players advancing on two backpedaling defenders. However, Rojas' attempted delivery from the left cannot beat the first man, and the numerical advantage evaporates.
Not a bad ball out from the flanks from Wijnaldum, who uses his left foot to bend his cross onto the head of Van Persie. The Manchester United man rises highest to steer the ball towards goal, but it's easy pickings in the end for the keeper, who didn't have to move to make the catch.
The early enthusiasm is dying down a little as the Netherlands adopt a more measured approach to the game. They are looking to build from the back and pass their way through patiently, which is in turn allowing less gaps for Ecuador to exploit on the break.
CLOSE CALL for Ecuador there, as Van Persie whips in a free kick towards the far post that very nearly finds the boot of the unmarked Veltman, who only needed a touch to get that on target! Would have been very hard for Banguera had he got that on goal.
The home side have held onto the ball without interruption for the last few minutes, though they've found it a little hard to break through the ranks of the opposition. Ecuador defending well.
Well the early signs are certainly encouraging for the neutrals, as both sides have shown an appetite to get forward in numbers and try to cause problems. This certainly won't be a walk in the park for the Netherlands!
MISS FROM WIJNALDUM! A swift attack from the Oranje sees the opposition midfielders out of position, which allows him the space to shoot from the edge of the box. He had time to pick his spot, but he side foots it way over the top! Poor end to a promising move.
Assist Felipe Caicedo
Goal Jefferson Montero
Well, it's just that man, isn't it! A throw in from the right hand side sees the ball played to the top of the box, and Montero darts around his defender to latch onto the resulting through pass from Caicedo to slide a low finish home!
ECUADOR HAVE THE LEAD!
I've talked about Valencia's status in this Ecuador team already, but another real wild card in the attacking third is winger Jefferson Montero. He's threatened in the past with his pace and directness wearing the national colors, and if he has his head on his shoulders, he can cause real problems for the Netherlands here.
CHANCE AT THE OTHER END! Excellent attack from the Oranje, as Depay is freed down the right hand side to sprint towards the byeline. He slides a low ball almost across the goal line, and it's nearly stabbed in from point blank range by Van Persie, but a last ditch block between two players puts him off the finish!
Not a bad opening for Ecuador there. They win a free kick on the left side of the field, deep in the opposition half, but a header at the near post from Martins Indi gets rid of the danger ahead of a sea of yellow shirts.
As you would expect, Netherlands are dominating the early possession. However, Ecuador aren't letting them have it all their own way, as the South American side are activating a series of presses high up the field to ruffle those orange feathers.
Here we go then!
The Netherlands will square off against Spain, Australia and Chile in Group B of this summer's World Cup, and the idea is for tonight's game to give them an insight into what to expect from Jorge Sampaoli's side. Plenty of fringe players in the squad for the Oranje, so the game seems set to be more even than one might expect.
The biggest name for the South Americans is of course Antonio Valencia, who will square off against club teammate Van Persie here in Amsterdam. Most of the rest Ecuadorian squad are contracted to clubs in the Americas, but Premier League fans may recognise forward Felipe Caicedo from his brief time at Manchester City.
Ecuador have also qualified for the World Cup, and they are set to face Switzerland, France and Honduras in their group. With two European sides in their pot, tonight's match gives them a chance to get a taste of playing against a team from that continent.
With Strootman absent, the opportunity opens up for Daley Blind and Jordy Claise to stake a claim for a permanent place in the Oranje midfield. Both players are plying their trade in the Eredivisie with Ajax and Feyenoord respectively, and they will doubtless be eager to impress here, as they are both handed starts.
The biggest name in the lineup tonight for the Netherlands tonight is lead striker Robin van Persie. The Manchester United man has endured a torrid time with injuries this season, and Van Gaal wil desperately want his main man to get back into stride as quickly as possible.
The loss of Kevin Strootman through injury has seen Louis van Gaal publicly state his intention to move away from his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation into a 5-3-2 setup, the likes of which was used by Feyenoord at the end of the Eredivisie season to accomodate the absence of the Roma man.
A bit of an early start to the pre-tournament friendlies here, especially for a team such as the Netherlands, where many of their players still have club commitments to attend to across Europe. The likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Nigel de Jong, Arjen Robben, and Jeremain Lens have all stayed home to fulfill those obligations.
ECUADOR: Banguera, Guagua, Erazo, Paredes, Noboa, Montero, Caicedo, Castillo, Valencia, Bagui, Rojas.
NETHERLANDS: Cillessen, Janmaat, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Kongolo, Clasie, Blind, Wijnaldum, Van Persie, Depay.
Greetings everyone, and welcome to this World Cup warm up, as the Netherlands take on Ecuador at the Amsterdam ArenA. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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