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What Ecuador needs to qualify for the World Cup Round of 16: All possible outcomes

Enner Valencia-inspired Ecuador face off against Senegal for a place the round of 16 in a winner-takes-all Group A clash.

Roddy Cons
Enner Valencia-inspired Ecuador face off against Senegal for a place the round of 16 in a winner-takes-all Group A clash.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup got underway with Enner Valencia scoring twice in an Ecuador victory against host nation Qatar, a result which set Gustavo Alfaro’s men on the way to possible qualification for the round of 16 for just the second time in their history. A draw against the Netherlands, in which Valencia scored once more to become the tournament’s joint-top leading scorer, on matchday two has kept their hopes of making it through Group A alive but everything will come down to Tuesday’s make-or-break clash against Senegal, for which Valencia had been an injury doubt but looks likely to play some part in, at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan (kick-off at 10am ET).

Group A: how things stand

It’s a case of three teams fighting it out for the top two spots in Group A, with Qatar already eliminated having lost their opening two matches against Ecuador and Senegal. With the Netherlands and La Tri having both taken four points from their first two games, both scored three goals, both conceded one and drawn when they played each other, Louis van Gaal’s team currently top the group due to their superior fair play record.

More: What happens if teams end up on the same number of points in the World Cup group stage?

Those two countries are in the driving seat heading into matchday three but Senegal’s 3-1 victory over Qatar, which came after an opening defeat to the Dutch, means the Lions of Teranga are still in which a chance of making it through to the knockout rounds.

What Ecuador need to do in Game 3 against Senegal

While Ecuador are currently sitting in the second of the two qualification places in Group A, they will be looking over their shoulders, with Senegal a solitary point behind them. As Qatar have already been eliminated, things are relatively straightforward for the South Americans.

A win or a draw against Senegal will ensure they qualify at the African’s expense and could even see them top the group should they better the Netherlands’ result against Qatar. If both Ecuador and Oranje pick up three more points, whichever team wins by the biggest margin will finish first, while if they both draw, whoever takes part in the highest-scoring draw will end up top by virtue of goals scored.

La Tri could even go through if they lose to Senegal, although it seems unlikely. In that case, Alfaro’s side would be dependent on Qatar defeating the Netherlands by a greater margin than by which they lose to Senegal.


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