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World Cup Now: Three takeaways from Ecuador’s win vs. Qatar

Enner Valencia silenced the home crowd at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday with a brace that gave Ecuador a 2-0 win in the tournament opener and a crucial three points in a group where points won’t be easy to come by.

On “FIFA World Cup Today,” FOX Sports soccer analysts Jimmy Conrad, Sacha Kljestan and Warren Barton gave their three takeaways from the game and discussed how Ecuador broke down Qatar’s defense.

1. Conrad: Ecuador adjusted their formation

What Ecuador did was very, very smart. They had gone through this last six games stretch where they only scored two goals in the last six leading up to this game and scored two goals in a 4-3-3 formation, and it wasn’t working. 

Enner Valencia plays for his club team, Fernabace, in a 4-4-2, a two-striker formation. He’s better with a strike partner, and they had that Sunday night, and it made a big difference. I don’t know that Qatar was ready for it. Qatar might have been more ready for a 4-3-3, and it didn’t work.

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2. Kljestan: Qatar got bullied

They were second-best. Ecuador overwhelmed them from the first minute of the game. Every set piece they had, they just dropped it in the box, and they were just better. They were winning first balls, they were winning second balls. 

Physically, Ecuador bossed the game in the second half. They started passing around them, they were playing in their half. They bossed the game. That’s all it was. Of course, Enner Valenci gets the goals, and he gets the credit, but it was a really good team performance.

3. Barton: Ecuador’s stars showed up

I’m not saying Valencia is going to be a superstar because obviously we know about him, but he’s made an impact straight away. They needed goals. 

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Ecuador keep clean sheets and do that well, but they needed to put the ball in the back of the net, and Valencia looks like the man to do that.

Watch “FIFA World Cup Today” before and after every match of the tournament on Twitter by following @FoxSoccer.

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