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Sat, Jun 22 | 10:48 am

WORLD CUP 2026 QUALIFICATION ARUBA FALLS TO CURAÇAO

by | Jun 10, 2024 | 0 comments

It was no public secret that Curaçao was the overwhelming favorite in this match. With all their players playing in the Dutch Eredivisie and with experience playing in the Gold Cup against the big teams of Concacaf, Curaçao came into the game strong, having beaten Barbados 4-1 just three days prior and arriving in Aruba with a team already in high gear. For Aruba, this was their first game, and their game plan was very clear: play defensively, try to keep the score at zero, and counterattack to surprise Curaçao’s defense. Aruba lined up in a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, with the robust Terrence Groothusen as the focal point in attack, and two defensive midfielders, Walter Bennet and Jonathan Richard, holding down the midfield.

Aruba managed to keep their plan intact in the first half but had to suffer a lot. Curaçao knew that Aruba would play defensively and that space would be limited, so they looked for gaps through the lines. Especially on the left side, the combination of Floranus, Bacuna, and Gore penetrated and delivered dangerous crosses to Aruba’s goal. Rangelo Janga, the hero against Barbados in the previous game, did not have the same script this night and missed several good opportunities. Aruba’s best chance came in the 38th minute on a counterattack where Jonathan Richard received a pass in the area, but the keeper Eloy Room made a tremendous save to prevent Aruba’s goal.

In the second half, Curaçao came out more aggressively, and head coach Dick Advocaat made a change, taking out his defensive midfielder Godfried Roemeratoe and sending in a more offensive player, Rayvien Rosario, showing the urgency Curaçao had to solve their goal-scoring problem. In the second half, Aruba played with more confidence and had several good approaches, and Curaçao’s goal came just as Aruba was playing their best football. In the 60th minute, Leandro Bacuna sent Curaçao ahead 1-0 with a powerful shot. Aruba found an opportunity to equalize in the 82nd minute when Benjamin Maria advanced on the right side but decided to make one move too many instead of taking a shot, losing the ball to Curaçao’s defender. The insurance goal came in extra time in the 96th minute when Xander Severina’s powerful shot beat Aruba’s keeper Matthew Lentinks, who was great for Aruba that night but couldn’t stop the ball from going in.

Curaçao achieved their second victory and consolidated themselves as the group leader, while Aruba traveled Sunday morning to Barbados to play against St. Lucia on the 11th.

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