Cody Gakpo put the Netherlands ahead after just six minutes, but Enner Valencia equalized early in the second half.

The Netherlands and Ecuador shared points in their second World Cup game, with the South American underdogs looking more dangerous during their 1-1 draw.

Friday’s result means hosts Qatar are the first team to be eliminated from the tournament. Senegal beat Qatar 3-1 earlier in the other Group A match of the day.

Cody Gakpo, the PSV Eindhoven forward who has been strongly linked with a transfer to Manchester United, put the Netherlands ahead with a brilliant goal in the sixth minute at the Al Khalifa International Stadium.

Netherlands against Ecuador
Cody Gakpo opens the score for the Netherlands [Hannah Mckay/Reuters]

But with a large and vociferous support behind them, Ecuador fought back with such ferocity that the Dutch were thrown into disarray – and an Ecuador goal disallowed just before half-time gave an indication of the one-way traffic that was to follow in the second half.

Minutes after the start of the second period, Enner Valencia became the highest goalscorer of this World Cup so far with a goal in the 49th minute. It was the captain’s third goal of the campaign following his brace in his country’s opening win against Qatar.

With the Netherlands and Ecuador now both on four points in Group A, followed by Senegal with three, Qatar are now unable to qualify for the knockout stages as they are bottom of the table with zero points ahead of their last game against the Orange side.

Very few expected the hosts to drop out of the group, but they will be disappointed to go into the final group game with nothing on the line.

Gonzalo Plata from Ecuador hits the crossbar
Gonzalo Plata’s shot hit the bar [Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Ecuador could even have won this game, when Gonzalo Plata crashed a shot on the crossbar just before the hour mark. La Tri put in 23 crosses to the Netherlands’ seven in a sign that if anyone was about to score a winner, it wouldn’t be the Dutchman.

An encouraging evening for Ecuador was marred by the sight of Valencia arriving late on a stretcher and then iced his right knee, and they will hope their all-time top goalscorer can make a speedy recovery.

Ecuador will play in the final round of their group matches against Senegal on Tuesday, while the Netherlands take on Qatar, knowing a draw is all they need to secure their place in the round of 16.

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