Memphis Depay was named as a substitute for the Netherlands in their second World Cup Group A game against Ecuador on Friday, with Enner Valencia in the starting line-up for the South American team.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal had hinted that Barcelona forward Depay could be thrown in from kick-off at the Khalifa International Stadium after making an impact off the bench in Monday’s 2-0 win over Senegal.
That was his first match in two months following a thigh injury.
Van Gaal made three changes for Friday’s match. Jurrien Timber replaced Matthijs de Ligt in central defence, Teun Koopmeiners comes into the midfield for Steven Berghuis and Davy Klaassen starts ahead of Vincent Janssen further forward.
Valencia had been a fitness concern for Ecuador after scoring both goals as they beat hosts Qatar 2-0 in the tournament’s opening game.
Yet he is named in Gustavo Alfaro’s team, in which the only change the coach has made is bringing Jackson Porozo into the back line.
Ecuador are likely to mirror the Netherlands in playing with a three-man central defence.
Senegal’s 3-1 win over Qatar earlier means the Netherlands will qualify for the last 16 with a victory.
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