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Netherlands looking to edge closer to World Cup record in Ecuador match

Netherlands looking to edge closer to World Cup record in Ecuador match

Netherlands will hope to have moved closer to a World Cup record when they reach full time against Ecuador on Friday.

Despite having failed to qualify for the 2018 edition, Oranje headed into this year’s tournament full of optimism that they can challenge for the Jules Rimet trophy.

Netherlands have gone close in their most recent two appearances, losing the final to Spain in 2010 and only being eliminated in a penalty shootout to Argentina in the semi-finals four years later.

Such results have naturally been preceded by productive efforts in the group stages, and Netherlands boast one of the best records in that category in history.

As it stands, they have come through their last 14 fixtures without losing a round-robin fixture, not losing since a 1994 encounter with Belgium.

Only Germany and Brazil have put together longer undefeated group-stage runs, the former reaching 16 games between 1990 and 2010.

Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring for Netherlands against Senegal at the World Cup on November 21, 2022.© Reuters

Brazil are currently on 15 matches without a loss and will equal Germany’s all-time record if they avoid defeat to Serbia on Thursday night.

Louis van Gaal‘s team are also bidding to extend another notable streak having come through their most recent four World Cup games without conceding a goal, the latest being a 2-0 win over Senegal on Monday.

Should they keep a clean sheet against Ecuador, they will become the first team since Switzerland between 2006 and 2010 to post five clean sheets in succession.

As far as their South American opponents are concerned, Enner Valencia will be attempting to become the first player in World Cup history to achieve a certain feat.

Valencia has netted his nation’s last five goals at the tournament and only three players have ever reached six strikes in a row since the first tournament back in 1930.

Should Valencia net a double against Netherlands, Ecuador’s top goalscorer in their history will set a mark which may never be eclipsed.

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