World Cup Group A: What do Netherlands, Ecuador and Senegal need to qualify?

James Cormack
Netherlands and Ecuador currently top Group A with four points each
Netherlands and Ecuador currently top Group A with four points each / Kaz Photography/GettyImages
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Group A will be the first to conclude at the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday afternoon with three teams vying for progression into the round of 16.

Heavy group favourites Netherlands have flattered to deceive thus far, but Louis van Gaal's side currently top the group ahead of Ecuador and Senegal.

Qatar, meanwhile, became the first host nation in World Cup history to lose the opening game of the tournament and they've since been eliminated with a game to spare - the earliest host nation exit ever.


Netherlands

Netherlands at the World Cup so far

The Dutch began their World Cup campaign with an unconvincing 2-0 victory over Senegal on the second day of the tournament.

Perhaps hindered by Memphis Depay's fitness issues, Van Gaal's side struggled their way through the contest before blossoming young forward Cody Gakpo headed home Frenkie de Jong's cross with six minutes remaining. An added time tap-in from Davy Klaasen secured all three points.

On Matchday 2, Gakpo thumped Netherlands into an early lead against Ecuador but they were pegged back by Enner Valencia just after half-time. Gakpo's fantastic finish was their only shot on target in the game.

What do Netherlands need?

Netherlands' fate is in their hands as they take on Qatar on Tuesday. A draw or win will see them qualify. However, they'll also qualify with a defeat if Ecuador beat Senegal.

If they lose and the other contest is a draw or Ecuador lose, goal difference will come into play to determine who progresses. It's worth noting that Netherlands and Ecuador boast identical records so the Dutch are currently topping the group thanks to their superior fair play record.


Ecuador

Ecuador at the World Cup so far

Ecuador have certainly caught the eye of the neutral in Qatar so far. Blessed with a talented young core, Gustavo Alfaro's side breezed by Qatar in the tournament opener thanks to a vintage Valencia brace.

A controlled second-half secured a comfortable 2-0 victory.

The South Americans then produced an impressive performance on Matchday 2 against the Netherlands to leave them joint-top of Group A with the Dutch.

What do Ecuador need?

A win or a draw against Senegal on Matchday 3 will be enough for Ecuador to qualify.

Defeat, however, and they'll need an unlikely Qatari victory and hope the hosts beat the Dutch by a relatively comfortable margin.


Senegal

Senegal at the World Cup so far

Senegal stifled Netherlands for much of their Matchday 1 encounter before they were hit with a pair of sucker punches to conclude the contest.

In Sadio Mane's absence, their status in the tournament was under threat as they took on Qatar on Matchday 2, but they responded with an emphatic 3-1 triumph over the hosts.

What do Senegal need?

Senegal are guaranteed to progress if they beat Ecuador, while a draw could be enough if the Dutch are beaten by Qatar.


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