and first place is on the line as Netherlands and Ecuador square off on Friday. The group rivals are meeting for the first time in a World Cup, and have only played each other twice prior in international friendlies, each a narrow contest with a draw and win for the Netherlands. Ecuador opened the group stage with a 2-0 win over tournament hosts Qatar. The Netherlands won their opening match with a 2-0 victory over Senegal. The earlier victories mean a win by either team will earn first-place with one game remaining in group stage play.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more — and while you’re at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates about the World Cup, here.
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How to watch and odds
- Date: Friday, November 25 | Time: 11 a.m. ET
- Location: Khalifa International Stadium
- TV: FOX and Telemundo | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: NET -129; DRAW +245; ECU +380 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Craving more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a daily CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during the big games in Qatar.
Netherlands: The Netherlands’ opening win wasn’t secured until the 84th minute thanks to Cody Gakpo finding the breakthrough against Senegal. An added insurance goal by Davy Klaassen in late stoppage time locked up all three points, but the team will need a quicker start against Ecuador if they want to claim first place. Look for Gakpo to build on his goal-scoring, while Virgil van Dijk makes sure the Netherlands stifles any counterattacks by Ecuador.
Ecuador: Enner Valencia was the man with a plan during Ecuador’s opening win against Qatar. The 33-year-old forward converted from the penalty spot and put away a header with a perfectly timed move for the 2-0 win. The team has a fearlessness about them and isn’t afraid to run directly at defenses. Valencia has to be dealt with, and he makes it hard, and if left-back Pervis Estupinan can stay creative on the flank, Ecuador could shock the tournament.
The Netherlands get a breakthrough before halftime, and things will get interesting in the second half, but late-game heroics secure the win once more. Pick: Netherlands 2, Ecuador 1