Ecuador: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez (Liga de Quito), Maximo Banguera (Barcelona, Ecuador), Adrian Bone (El Nacional).
Defenders: Gabriel Achilier (Emelec), Walter Ayovi (Pachuca), Oscar Bagui (Emelec), Frickson Erazo (Flamengo), Jorge Guagua (Emelec), Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona, Ecuador.
Midfielders: Segundo Castillo (Al Hilal), Carlos Gruezo (Stuttgart), Renato Ibarra (Vitesse Arnhem), Fidel Martinez (Tijuana), Edison Mendez (Santa Fe), Christian Noboa (Dinamo Moscow), Luis Saritama (Barcelona, Ecuador), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).
Forwards: Jaime Ayovi (Tijuana), Felipe Caicedo (Al-Jazira), Jefferson Montero (Morelia), Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul), Enner Valencia (Pachuca), Michael Arroyo (Atlante).
Best Ever Finish: Last 16 (2006)
Captain: Antonio Valencia
Manager: Reinaldo Rueda
Ecuador qualified for the 2014 World Cup by finishing 4th in the CONMEBOL group. An excellent win against a strong Uruguayan team with just a couple of games left secured their place in Brazil, sparking joyous scenes across the country
Their home form was nothing other than outstanding, remaining unbeaten throughout the qualifying campaign, winning all but one match in very high altitude.
More unsettling for La Tri however is the complete inability to win away from home soil. Something which will of course be key if they have any aspirations of progressing beyond the group stage.
Implementing a fast and intense style of play, Ecuador will be a tricky team to come up against, especially if their talented wingers are on song.
But an overall lack of organisation, poor form on the road and a lack of talented defenders and central midfielders implies that, while they may be capable of causing a large upset, it is doubtful they will progress past the group.
Key Player – Antonio Valencia
An extremely talented yet somewhat inconsistent winger, Valencia has it in him to cause big problems for opposition fullbacks. He has skill, pace to burn and is an excellent crosser of the ball.
Over the past few years for Manchester United, Valencia has proven that on his day he can be one of the best wingers in the Premier League. But an inability to be productive week in week out makes him a hugely frustrating commodity.
He is Ecuador’s best player and if they are to get their act together away from home, then much of the impetus will come from him.