Ecuador’s Valencia nurses ankle sprain ahead of Dutch clash

(Reuters) – Ecuador’s captain and top scorer Enner Valencia is still nursing a minor ankle sprain ahead of his team’s Group A clash with the Netherlands where the South Americans could progress to the second round for only the second time.

Valencia limped off after scoring twice in Ecuador’s opening win against Qatar, raising a question mark over his availability against the Dutch on Friday.

“Yesterday, we took some images. Nothing serious showed up. It was a light sprain,” team doctor Camilo Chiquito told reporters in an update. “It’s up to him how the situation evolves in the next few days in the gym and on the field.”

Coach Gustavo Alfaro has already said he expects the veteran forward to play.

Goalkeeper Hernan Galindez said Ecuador were delighted to be in control of their own fate after what turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 victory over the tournament hosts.

“We have the great possibility of not depending on anyone. Having beaten Qatar, we only depend on ourselves,” he told reporters.

“We are focused on working and understanding that we have a very hard game ahead on Friday, but we are confident of being able to achieve a positive result.”

Three-times World Cup finalists Netherlands also won their opening game 2-0, against Senegal.

(Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne)