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Home|Football News|World Cup 2006|Teams|World Cup Teams|Ecuador 2006

Ecuador World Cup 2006 Team Profile

Paul Robinson looks at La Tricolor. Will they come down to Earth with a bang?

Ecuador team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Ecuador team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Ecuador Kit 1
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Ecuador Kit 2
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Current World Ranking: 39

Until recently seen as one of the weaker sides in one of the strongest football confederations in the world, the last ten years have seen Ecuador on the up and up.

Qualifying for the World cup for the first time the in 2002 ahead of Brazil and only behind Argentina made people sit up and take note, and they leapt up the world rankings from 71 to where they now sit in the 30s.

Playing at their best at high altitude (Quito sits at 2,800m above sea level), it remains to be seen if Luis Suarez's men can adjust to the lowlands and break their habit for starting competitions somewhat slowly. La Tricolor certainly won't get the chances to make up for a bad start in the World Cup.

World Cup Group A

Poland (9/6)
Costa Rica (15/6)
Germany (20/6)

How on earth did they get here?

Ecuador's qualification for the 2002 World Cup was a long time coming – they'd been trying for 40 years, first trying their luck way back in 1962 with no joy. The closest they came before 2002 was in 1966 with a team that is still recalled with awe and glassy-eyed nostalgia by Ecuadorians today, when they narrowly missed out to Chile.

Their time came at last four years ago when they qualified in second place behind Argentina and ahead of Brazil, who they recorded a historic win against in the qualifying rounds. Unfortunately they fell at the first hurdle, unable to get beyond their first round group of Italy, Mexico and Croatia. Nine men from that year's squad will be present in Germany this year providing a bit of much needed experience.

Qualification for this year's tournament started well with a 2-0 home win against Venezuela, but this was a bit of a false start and they only managed to get one point from the next four games, that being a draw at home with Peru. The poor away record continued throughout the preliminaries and they only managed one away win in the campaign (a well fought 2-1 victory at high altitude in Bolivia), but an exemplary home record which saw them beat both Brazil and Argentina carried them through to finish third behind those two teams and ahead of Paraguay. The poor results away from home and at low altitude have got to be a worry ahead of playing in Germany, as is the fact that they have only played four internationals in Europe to date.

Qualifying Results

6-9-03 Ecuador 2-0 Venezuela
11-9-03 Brazil 1-0 Ecuador
15-11-03 Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
19-11-03 Ecuador 0-0 Peru
31-3-04 Argentina 1-0 Ecuador
2-6-04 Ecuador 2-1 Colombia
5-6-04 Ecuador 3-2 Bolivia
5-9-04 Uruguay 1-0 Ecuador
10-10-04 Ecuador 2-0 Chile
15-10-04 Venezuela 3-1 Ecuador
17-11-04 Ecuador 1-0 Brazil
27-3-05 Ecuador 5-2 Paraguay
31-3-05 Peru 2-2 Ecuador
4-6-05 Ecuador 2-0 Argentina
8-6-05 Colombia 3-0 Ecuador
3-9-05 Bolivia 1-2 Ecuador
8-10-05 Ecuador 0-0 Uruguay
13-10-05 Chile 0-0 Ecuador
26-1-06 Ecuador 1-0 Honduras

The man in charge

Born in Colombia, 47-year-old former defender Luis Suarez took charge from Hernan Dario Gomez in 2004 after a disappointing performance in the Copa America led to Bolillo's resignation.

Since taking over, Luis Suarez rebuilt the team, with some of the veterans having to make way for younger talent . This tactic has worked, the fresh faces and experience in the team combining well and he's got reason to be pleased with the performance so far - victories over Brazil and Argentina and qualification for the second successive World Cup with a game to spare say it all really.

Ecuador have certainly turned their hometurf of Quito into a fortress – they remained unbeaten there throughout the qualifying campaign and picked up 23 of their total 28 points at home. Suarez has recently hit back at the constant claims that Ecuador only has such a record because of Quito's altitude, something that results seem to back up. He told reporters recently, 'High altitude is not the main factor. If that were the case, we would have always qualified for the World Cup. We have shown that we have a team that can play... and we will go far during this tournament.'

Star men

Twenty-four year old star striker "El Mago" Franklin Salas is a notable and unfortunate absence from the side, as he is still recovering from a knee operation he underwent over eight months ago. Ecuador's frontline will rely heavily on Delgado, the joint top scorer for Ecuador in this year's preliminaries along with Mendez and top scorer for the team overall. In 2002's qualifying stages he was joint top scorer of the group with Argentina's Crespo, scoring nine.

Attacking midfielder Edison Mendez of LDU, who scored the only goal in Ecuador's only win of the last World Cup against Croatia, is the one to keep an eye on. In qualifying this year, he scored the winning goal against Brazil and racked up five goals throughout the campaign, on a par with striker Delgado. He also had a hand (or should that be foot?) in a lot of Ecuador's other goals and he and Delgado can be a fear-inducing partnership.

Veteran defender Ivan Hurtado, Ecuador's most capped international with 122 hats on his hat stand so far, will be the solid centre of the team's defensive backbone.

Another surprise star man could turn out to be Tzamarenda Naychapi, the Ecuadorian shaman currently doing the rounds of all the grounds being used in the tournament to chase away evil spirits. Well, it can't hurt…

How will they do?

Well, they're certainly going to need to pull out all the stops and hope for a miracle to get through the group stages if the truth be told. They surprisingly beat Croatia in the last World Cup, but that wasn't enough to send them through and I don't think the other teams in their group are going to be anywhere near a walkover.

The lack of experience, especially of playing in Europe, looks like it might prove to be crucial this year, and although Ecuador is certainly a team on the rise in South America it's still early days for them.

In the qualifying stages they were inconsistent to say the least, and this doesn't really suggest they'll be able to put a decent enough run together to get very far, although they are capable of beating top teams. Losses to Poland, Holland and Japan in recent friendlies don't bode too well.

If they get through to the second round they'll be chuffed to bits and I'll register a look of mild surprise. I bet that shaman'll have a right smirk on his face though…

Word on the street

"I reckon they'll do shit, didn't even know they were in the world cup though, and you know how good my advice is."
Matt, 48, Brisbane, Australia

World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers Edwin Villafuerte (Deportivo Quito), Cristian Mora (LDU), Damian Lanza (Aucas)
Defenders: Ivan Hurtado (Al Arabi, Qatar), Giovanny Espinoza (LDU), Ulises de la Cruz (Aston Villa, England), Paul Ambrossi (LDU), Neicer Reasco (LDU), Jorge Guagua (El Nacional), Jose Luis Perlaza (Olmedo)
Midfielders Marlon Ayovi (Deportivo Quito), Edwin Tenorio (Barcelona), Edison Mendez (LDU), Patricio Urrutia (LDU), Cristian Lara (El Nacional), Segundo Castillo (El Nacional), Luis Antonio Valencia (Recreativo Huelva, Spain), Luis Fernando Saritama (Deportivo Quito).
Forwards Cristian Benitez (El Nacional), Felix Borja (El Nacional), Carlos Tenorio (Al Sadd, Qatar), Agustin Delgado (LDU), Ivan Kaviedes (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina)

Pub Quiz facts in brief

Nickname: La Tricolor
Coach: Luis Suarez
Founded: 1925
Biggest win: Ecuador 6-0 Peru (1975)
Biggest defeat: Argentina 12- 0 Ecuador (1942)
World Cup appearances: 2 (1st was in 2002)
Highest win in qualifying stages: Ecuador 5-2 Paraguay
Top scorer: Agustin Delgado (31)
Most caps: Ivan Hurtado (122)

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