AMSTERDAM (AP) — Robin van Persie scored with a trademark left-foot volley to give a new-look Netherlands a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in a pre-World Cup friendly on Saturday.
Van Persie controlled a long pass from Jordy Clasie on his chest and immediately smashed it past Maximo Banguera in the 37th minute to cancel out a ninth-minute strike by Jefferson Montero that gave Ecuador a surprise lead.
"We saw a magnificent goal," coach Louis van Gaal said. "A fantastic pass by Clasie and the way Van Persie finished it was phenomenal."
The Netherlands had the best of the possession for much of the match at a sold-out Amsterdam Arena, but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Van Persie's striking partner, Memphis Depay, still seeking his first international goal in his fifth match, squandered two good chances before the break.
Captain Antonio Valencia, playing on the right wing, provided much of Ecuador's attacking impetus, but lacked support.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal started with the formation he plans to use in Brazil — a five-man defense, three in midfield and two attackers. He hasn't yet settled on which players will play where and the sometimes stuttering Dutch performance showed that they still need to get used to playing it.
"I'm disappointed in the fact that when we had the ball we could not find the free man," Van Gaal said.
The break with the Netherlands' traditional attacking 4-3-3 formation was forced on Van Gaal by the season-ending knee injury midfield dynamo Kevin Strootman suffered in January playing for Roma.
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