(Over the next month or so, we’re going to be doing previews for all 32 teams participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Yes, all 32 teams. We’ll make you laugh, cry, get mad and perhaps question why you read us in the first place. We hope you enjoy the product nonetheless)
The Ecuadorians are undefeated at home, but they couldn’t muster up a single away win. Their fortunes for the most part depend on Manchester United winger – and Ecuadorian NT captain – Antonio Valencia.
Avid wachters of the English Premier League know that Tony V is a supplier. He needs someone to get on the end of his crosses for him to do any damage. This isn’t the case here, however, as manager Reinaldo Rueda prefers to deploy Valencia centrally.
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)
Antonio Valencia was shown red after his reaction to Raheem Sterling’s tackle in the recent friendly against England, when the teams drew 2-2 in Miami. Luckily, it was a one game suspension and Ecuador will be able to field him in their opening game against Switzerland.
This helps his manager’s bold assertion that Ecuador will be targeting a semi final finish in the World Cup. “Like I always tell the players, I want to play seven games,” he said. “That is what I want at the World Cup.”
I’m afraid that’s too much to ask of his limited squad.
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