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2022 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Ecuador

Ecuador

(Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Ecuador
(Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Ecuador

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far.

Ecuador was the last team to be fully allowed to play in the 2022 World Cup after the Chilean Football Federation accused Ecuador of playing an ineligible player throughout qualifying. Ecuador was accused of playing defender Byron Castillo who according to Chile is Colombian, not Ecuadorean. FIFA ultimately ruled in favor of “La Tricolor” allowing them to stay in the World Cup. “La Tricolor” qualified for the 2022 World Cup by finishing fourth in CONMEBOL qualifying.

World Cup Appearances

The 2022 World Cup will be the fourth that Ecuador has participated in after missing out on the World Cup four years ago. They made their first World Cup in 2002 followed by qualifications in the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

Best Finish at a World Cup

Only once has Ecuador made it out of the group stage. That was during the 2006 World Cup where they finished second in their group ahead of Poland and Costa Rica to advance to the Round of 16. In the Round of 16, they lost 1-0 to England and were eliminated.

Key players

The captain of “La Tricolor” is Enner Valencia. The former West Ham forward has the most goals for Ecuador with 35 and is the most senior player on the current squad having made 77 appearances for his country. Valencia scored four times for Ecuador during qualifying trailing only Michael Estrada’s six goals for Ecuador. Besides 32-year-old Valencia, midfielder Ángel Mena (34) and goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez (35) are the only players over 30 years old, making “La Tricolor” the second youngest team in Qatar.

Manager

Ecuador will be managed by Gustavo Alfaro. The former Atlético de Rafaela player became a manager in 1992, but he spent nearly the first 30 years managing club sides. He became the national team manager with Ecuador in 2020 after a stint at Boca Juniors in Argentina. The Argentine manager has a record of 11-12-8 in charge of Ecuador and led “La Tricolor” to the quarterfinals of the 2021 Copa America.

Biggest Group Game – vs. Senegal on Nov. 29

On the last day of Group A action, Ecuador’s match vs. Senegal could very well decide who advances to the knockout stage. Ecuador should beat Qatar on the opening day of the tournament and should lose to the Netherlands, but against Senegal, anything is possible. 

Prediction

It has been 16 years since Ecuador advanced out of the group stage and frankly the 2022 World Cup is four years too soon for “La Tricolor” to break that stretch. They have lost just one match in 2022, a 3-1 defeat at Paraguay, but Ecuador has yet to score more than one goal in any of their nine matches. The lack of goalscoring this year will be Ecuador’s downfall and will be the reason they lose to Senegal. After it is all said and done, Ecuador will finish third in Group A, not enough to advance to the knockout stage.

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