Ecuador is in Group E for the 2014 Brazil World Cup. Ecuador made their World Cup debut in 2002 and has since qualified three of four times to the tournament. Ecuador has also progressed into the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Ecuador produced the 45% of their goals from headers, the highest percentage among the other finalists. Since most of those headers came from close range, it poses a unique challenge to others in the group. Ecuador also boasts of a fast pace coming forward and a fast passing action. Ecuador won all of their seven matches at home, while it produced three draws and lost five times on the road.
The other options at goal scoring, beyond the aerial threat, is limited as they only scored more than once in one fourth of their qualifying matches, the lowest proportion among the other finalists. Ecuador’s defense is also in a bad state after the departure of veteran central defenders Ivan Hurtado and Giovanny Espinoza, who were nearing two hundred caps for the team.
Ecuador also had a tragedy in striker Christian Benitez, who died last July of heart attack in Qatar. It is notable to mention that Christian Benitez had scored in three qualifiers.
The Ecuadorian wing-play is their greatest strength with midfielder Antonio Valencia in the right flank and forward Jefferson Montero, who plays for Morelia, on the left. The former, who is playing for Manchester United, is most known for his pace down the right flank. Valencia, who is very reliable on the field, is also the captain of the team. Midfielder Cristian Noboa, who plays for Dynamo Moscow, will also help by providing the two wing players important balls. Forward Jaime Ayovi, who has been a part of the team from 2010, would also be an asset to the team. Midfielder Segundo Castillo is expected to provide adequate help to the defensive back-line. Another noteworthy mention would be forward Felipe Caicedo.
Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda, who has ceremoniously led the Honduras national team to the 2010 World Cup, has been in charge of the side since 2010. He was under pressure when Ecuador finished at the bottom of its group in the 2011 Copa America. It is also noteworthy to mention that Rueda, who tend s to keep a low profile, has not played football professionally.
Ecuador would be happy to play against Honduras, who has conceded a third of the goals from close range. Ecuador would struggle against France, which has a strong defense, and Switzerland, which has a strong left wing which could prove difficult for the weak right wing of Ecuador.
Ecuador has a good attacking option, which will come into play during their group matches. Whether Ecuador clears this group would solely be based on its defensive powers.
Ecuador is set to play Switzerland on June 15th, a game which Ecuador should look to win if they want to move on to the knockout stages for the 2014 World Cup.