Memphis Depay was named to the Netherlands’ starting XI for the first time in their final Group A clash against Qatar in 2022.
The Barcelona forward was expected to miss the tournament’s opening match against Senegal due to a hamstring injury, but he eventually came off the bench as the team defeated Senegal 2-0.
As Louis van Gaal’s team drew with Ecuador, Depay was once more a substitute, and the manager insisted prior to the match against hosts Qatar that he would not be taking any chances.
However, he said: “We’re going to do anything and everything to progress to the next match.”
Depay, a talisman and a member of Van Gaal’s 2014 World Cup team in Brazil, has been recalled as a result, and he will team up in attack with rising star Cody Gakpo.
Gakpo, who was trusted to be the Netherlands’ creative force behind a front two of Steven Bergwijn and Vincent Janssen, was one of the main beneficiaries of Depay’s absence.
The PSV attacker, who has been linked to Manchester United, started in the front against Ecuador and has since maintained his position there, partnering with Depay.
Of the Oranje’s three goals so far, three have been scored by Gakpo as well with the sharp shooter netting their first goal against host Qatar.
The Netherlands will advance whether Ecuador defeats Senegal or not with a win or a draw.