Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ecuadorians Coming of Age

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ecuadorians Coming of Age

Article excerpt

Ecuador are the poor relations of South American football, having never reached the World Cup finals until 2002, when they went to Japan and Korea.

That was regarded as a fluke by many, but to repeat the feat four years later means that surely now they must be taken seriously although critics will point to the high altitude at the national stadium in Quito and the advantage it gives their players.

In qualification for the last World Cup, Ecuador finished in second place and ahead of eventual world champions Brazil.

This time they qualified with a game to go and finished in third but it was not all plain sailing, with coach Luis Suarez having to step into the breach to rescue the team, which was floundering after seven qualification matches and had performed badly at the Copa America.

Suarez has a well-balanced team which has young players like Christian Lara, Luis Valencia and Franklin Salas breaking into the side, who are sure to have bright futures on the international stage, and they are combined with the experienced campaigners like Ulises de la Cruz, Ivan Hurtado, Edison Mendez and Agustin Delgado. …

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