Netherlands held by Ecuador in World Cup warm-up friendly
Amsterdam, May 18 (IANS) The Dutch national team drew 1-1 against Ecuador here in a preparation match ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting next month in Brazil.
In the first of three friendly matches of the Netherlands before the start of the World Cup, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal presented his new 5-3-2 system Saturday for the first time, instead of the 4-3-3 he used to play during the whole qualifying campaign, reports Xinhua.
Captain Robin van Persie was the only starter not playing in the Dutch Eredivisie, with the foreign players having joined the training camp later or still have to join the squad.
In this new formation the Dutch did not look comfortable in the beginning with fellow World Cup participant Ecuador causing some serious threats. In the ninth minute a pass by Felipe Caicedo cut through the Dutch defense, Jefferson Montero walked away from Joel Veltman and scored.
The home-team created some minor chances for the equaliser, but the pace of the game was too slow to really worry the Ecuadorans and in addition the Dutch made too many mistakes. In the 37th ‘Oranje’ finally showed some brilliance with Van Persie controlling a pass by Jordy Clasie with his chest and smashing in his 42nd goal for the Dutch national team.
After an assault by Oscar Bagui on Daryl Janmaat the Dutch right back limped off the pitch, looking to have seriously damaged his ankle. After half-time he was substituted by Paul Verhaegh, Patrick van Aanholt came on for Terence Kongolo and Jonathan de Guzman for Clasie.
The Netherlands were the dominating side in the second part, without creating major chances. Van Persie had an opportunity after a cross by Van Aanholt, but he completely missed the ball. In the final phase both teams seemed to settle for a draw.
Before leaving for Brazil June 5, the Netherlands will go on a training camp to Portugal next week and also play friendlies versus Ghana in Rotterdam May 31 and Wales here June 4.