Group A in the World Cup is well up for grabs after the Netherlands drew 1-1 against Ecuador after goals from Cody Gakpo and Enner Valencia.
The draw means that hosts Qatar have been knocked out, becoming the earliest hosts in tournament history to be eliminated.
Cody Gakpo gave the Netherlands the lead early on after his excellent left-footed strike beat Hernan Galindez at his front post.
The PSV forward’s sixth-minute strike is the earliest goal at the tournament so far and the first time Ecuador conceded in seven games.
Ecuador had the ball in the back of the net on the brink of half-time when Pervis Estupinan turned in Angelo Preciado’s cross.
However, the goal was ruled out for offside, with Jackson Porozo obstructing the view of Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppart.
Netherlands talisman Memphis Depay was introduced for the second half.
Ecuador did equalise quickly after the restart.
Brighton midfielder Moise Caicedo won the ball in the Netherlands’ half before Enner Valencia latched onto a rebound to tap in.
Noppart denied Estupinan well, but the tournament’s top scorer was in the perfect position to score.
Ecuador contained their strong start to the second half, with Gonzalo Plata striking the bar with a terrific left-footed effort.
Louis van Gaal tried to get the three points by bringing on target man Wout Weghorst, with goalscorer Gakpo leaving the field.
Ecuador’s talisman and captain Valencia was than stretchered off the pitch as injury time approached, in what is a huge blow for the South American nation.
A draw is not a bad result for either team, with Ecuador playing Senegal in what is a huge match, and the Netherlands facing hosts Qatar next.
More to follow…
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