World Cup 2022 top scorer Enner Valencia looks to be out of the tournament for Ecuador

Injury Enner Valencia of Ecuador during the World Cup match between Holland v Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Doha Qatar
(Image credit: Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Enner Valencia looks to be out of World Cup 2022 for Ecuador.

The striker was a doubt for the match against Netherlands after limping off from the opening match of the tournament against Qatar – but managed to get on the scoresheet once more for his country.

Valencia has three goals in the competition, more than anyone else. There is a significant worry, however, that the forward is now out for the rest of the tournament, after going down without any contact from anyone else, holding his right knee. Valencia was stretchered off. 

Cody Gakpo opened the scoring after just five minutes and four seconds to net the earliest goal of World Cup 2022 so far. The Dutch No.8, linked with a plethora of Premier League giants latched onto a ball from Davy Klaassen after a hood up field from Manchester City defender Nathan Ake. 

See more

In scoring, Gakpo became the first player in the tournament to have scored in two separate games at the tournament. With Senegal trouncing Qatar 3-1 in the earlier game in Group A – and with Gakpo now having scored two goals in the competition – there’s a genuine chance of the PSV starlet racking up his tally against hosts Qatar in the final group grame to put himself firmly in the frame for the Golden Boot.

Ecuador fought their way back into the contest, however, as Valencia then followed Gakpo’s lead and scored in successive World Cup 2022 fixtures. The former Everton and West Ham United striker, now playing in Turkey’s top flight, was first to Noppert’s scrambling save after Estupinian tested the inexperienced keeper. 

There was a suspicion that Valencia too would be deemed offside when he reacted first to the chance but after further inspection, Ake was playing the striker on for his third goal of the tournament – taking him to the top of the scoring charts, at least until every other team plays their second match of the competition. 

See more

This was a Dutch side without two starters, too, in Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay – for two vastly different reasons. Ismaila Sarr of Watford ran De Ligt ragged in the Dutch’s opening fixture against Senegal before Gakpo found the breakthrough once more. The Bayern Munich centre-back found himself dropped for the younger Jurrien Timber – another product of Ajax’s famed academy – while Barcelona frontman Memphis Depay was only deemed fit enough to take part for 45 minutes of this fixture. 

Sure enough, Memphis – the Oranje’s second-highest scorer of all time behind former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie – arrived for the second 45 as a half-time substitute.  

The winner of the Netherlands’ and Ecuador’s Group A will face the runner-up of England’s and Wales’ Group B in the last-16 round of the World Cup. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.