For the eighth time in the 2014 World Cup, a team has come from behind to win a match. This time it was Ecuador that rallied from a goal down to defeat Honduras 2-1 and keep their chances of advancing out of Group E alive. Honduras is eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
A draw helped neither team, which made for intense action. In a game that was filled with excitement and desperation from both sides, Ecuador’s Enner Valencia stole the show. Valencia buried both of his country’s goals on Friday and now has all three of Ecuador’s goals at this World Cup. Not only did he score both goals, he worked hard all game and put extreme pressure on the Honduran defense.
Ecuador dominated possession for most of the game and was able to hold off a late surge from Honduras in the final 10 minutes. Valencia was everywhere on the pitch and was rewarded with a tap-in goal in the first half and a header off of a corner kick in the second half. Ecuador had 12 corners on the game, with the one conversion on Valencia’s second goal.
Besides Valencia, Ecuador’s defense did well to keep Honduras to the outside. Honduras rarely held possession in the offensive third and that gave more time and opportunities to Valencia up front.
It was Valencia’s first two-goal game internationally for Ecuador, and the young forward is officially on fire. He’s now on a six-game scoring streak for Ecuador and has seven goals in that span.
If Ecuador can somehow make it to the knockout stage, they will do it behind the performance of Valencia, who is quickly becoming a star for his country. The win gives Ecuador three points and puts them in second place in their group. Switzerland holds three points also, but has a worse goal differential after getting crushed by group-leader France.
Valencia will have to deliver once more if his team is to advance out of group play, as they face a very talented French team in their third and final group game. France has already qualified for the round of 16, but will still hold a stiff challenge for Valencia and Ecuador.
If Ecuador continues to play a high-possession game with tight defense, they certainly stand a chance at getting points against France and surviving Group E. Tonight Ecuador can celebrate their first win of this World Cup and a spectacular performance by Valencia.