Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the Group A game between Netherlands and Ecuador who start the match, following Senegal’s victory over Qatar on three points alongside the Lions of Teranga. 

The teams have already been announced, and here they are:

Netherlands  Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, Koopmeiners, Frenkie de Jong, Blind; Klaassen, Gakpo, Bergwijn.
Substitutes  Pasveer, de Ligt, de Vrij, Luuk de Jong, Depay, Berghuis, Lang, Bijlow, de Roon, Malacia, Janssen, Weghorst, Taylor, Simons, Frimpong. 

Ecuador Galindez; Angelo Preciado, Porozo, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Plata, Mendez, Caicedo, Valencia, Estrada.
Substitutes  Arboleda, Cifuentes, Pacho, Gruezo, Ayrton Preciado, Ibarra, Ramirez, Arreaga, Mena, Sarmiento, Palacios, Franco, Dominguez, Reasco, Rodriguez.

So De Ligt, Berghuis and Janssen drop down to the bench for the Dutch with Jurrien Timber, Davy Klaassen and Teun Koopmeiners coming in. Ecuador make one change, Jackson Porozzo, a defender, coming in for the midfielder Romario Ibarra, suggesting a switch to a back three or five after their opening day victory over the hosts.

The two sides have only met in friendlies before, the Dutch winning in Amsterdam 1-0 in 2006 and holding them 1-1 there eight years later. Louis van Gaal had a nice surprise yesterday at his pre-match press conference when a Senegalese reporter told the Dutchman he was a longtime admirer.

“I don’t have any question for you. It’s just an opportunity to tell you I’m a fan since I was three years old,” Papa Mahmoud Gueye said. “I love you.”

The 71-year-old Iron Tulip, sometimes viewed as a stern-faced, taciturn and obdurate figure in soccer, broke into a huge smile before responding.

“I’m going to give you a big hug after this, because I like that you say this and I mean that seriously,” Van Gaal said through an interpreter. “Because people don’t often say this to me. So we’ll give each other a big hug afterward.”

Van Gaal kept his word, moving down from the stage and beckoning the reporter with his hand to join him in a warm embrace.

The 28-year-old Gueye works for Senegalese publication

Gueye told the Associated Press it was an honor to share such a touching moment with Van Gaal. “He’s one of the greatest figures in football,” Gueye said. “He was also happy to see that there are people who love him, and he said to me ‘Let’s give each other a hug.”‘

Gueye said Van Gaal has earned an unfair reputation over the years as being grumpy.

“That’s not really the case. From a distance people generally think that’s he’s not cool,” Gueye said. “But he’s a smiley character and he laughs with everyone. And he’s one of the best coaches in the world.”

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