Ecuador became the first Soth American team to be eliminated from the Qatar 2022 football World Cup following Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Senegal, while The Netherlands finished top of Group A by defeating the hosts 2-0 to book an appointment with the United States in the round of 16.
The North Americans advanced with a 1-0 win over Iran in a Group B match that represented anything but football. The other Group B encounter Tuesday saw England thrash neighbors Wales 3-0 to clinch the top spot in the series.
Despite their four points in three appearances, Ecuador now have to pack up. It was a very hard blow, a very big frustration, said Ecuador's Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro. Ecuador must not lose sight of these youngsters, a very young generation that is gaining experience that will be useful in the future, he added while hinting he might retire from coaching, although it was too soon to tell. Alfaro also has a career as a TV commentator in Colombia.
Ismaila Sarr gave Senegal the lead with a penalty kick in the 42nd minute, but the South Americans equalized in the 68th minute through Moises Caicedo. Two minutes later, Senegal's captain Kalidou Koulibaly, scored the winning goal.
The Netherlands eased into the last 16 with a 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar. Cody Gakpo's third goal of the tournament and a second from Frenkie de Jong sealed Qatar's fate as the first-ever hosting squad to finish their participation pointless. The European team was quick to celebrate a third scoring through Steven Berguis, but it was disallowed following a VAR review.
England qualified for the knockout stages after a 3-0 win against Wales, whose first World Cup appearance since 1958 came to an abrupt end.
Marcus Rashford scored in the 50th minute and Phil Foden added to the tally just 60 seconds later. Rashford then made it 3-0 to equal the scoring performances of France's Kylian Mbappe and Cody Gakpo in the tournament.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak congratulated the English team and said Wales should be proud of their performance.
England will now go on to play Senegal on Dec. 4, while The Netherlands will face the United States a day earlier.
Team captain Christian Pulisic gave the USA their victory over Iran amid mounting tension both on and off the pitch as human rights issues were implicit throughout the game. Last Sunday, Iran state media called for the United States to be immediately kicked out of the World Cup and suspended for 10 games for displaying a “distorted image” of Iran’s flag (without its Islamic symbols). The last time the two teams faced one another was at the 1998 tournament in Lyon, France, when Iran won 2-1. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commended the Iranian team at the time, saying, “the strong and arrogant opponent felt the bitter taste of defeat.”