Monday, May 22, 2006

FIFA World Cup Preview- Ecuador (Group A)

1 GK VILLAFUERTE Edwin - (Deportivo Quito, ECU)
2 DF GUAGUA Jorge - (El Nacional, ECU)
3 DF HURTADO Ivan - (Al Arabi, QAT)
4 DF DE LA CRUZ Ulises - (Aston Villa, ENG)
5 DF PERLAZA Jose - (Olmedo, ECU)
6 MF URRUTIA Patricio - (LDU Quito, ECU)
7 MF LARA Christian - (El Nacional, ECU)
8 MF MENDEZ Edison - (LDU Quito, ECU)
9 FW BORJA Felix - (El Nacional, ECU)
10 FW KAVIEDES Ivan - (Argentinos Juniors, ARG)
11 FW DELGADO Agustin - (LDU Quito, ECU)
12 GK MORA Cristian - (LDU Quito, ECU)
13 DF AMBROSSI Paul - (LDU Quito, ECU)
14 MF CASTILLO Segundo - (El Nacional, ECU)
15 MF AYOVI Marlon - (Deportivo Quito, ECU)
16 MF VALENCIA Luis - (Recreativo Huelva, ESP)
17 DF ESPINOZA Giovanny - (LDU Quito, ECU)
18 DF REASCO Neicer - (LDU Quito, ECU)
19 MF SARITAMA Luis - (Deportivo Quito, ECU)
20 MF TENORIO Edwin - (Barcelona, ECU)
21 FW TENORIO Carlos - (Al Sadd, QAT)
22 GK LANZA Damian - (Aucas, ECU)
23 FW BENITEZ Christian - (El Nacional, ECU)

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez (not to be confused with Spanish football legend Luis Suarez)

This squad came through South American qualifying without much bother, finishing third behind Brazil and Argentina. They will find the finals a much tougher prospect, however, as they face younger, fresher teams in their group.
The core of the team remains much the same. There are, however, some bright, young faces such as forward Cristian Benitez. The star players still remain Aston Villa's marauding wingbacks Ulises de la Cruz, forwards Agustin Delgado and Kaviedes, and Edwin and Carlos Tenorio.
The team has talented keepers. The problem is that they are still inexperienced, the seniormost keeper, Villafuerte, having won just 14 caps for the national team.
The defence looks solid, but unremarkable. No names stand out apart from de la Cruz, who is more noted for his attacking qualities than his defensive ones. The midfield and frontline have a few new talents, such as Borja, Valencia, Benitez, Lara and Castillo.

OVERALL ASSESMENT: This team is experienced and solid, but the age factor may work against them, as does the fact that the team can be a little one- dimensional. They may have breezed through qualification, but that was mostly on the basis of results in the thin air of Quito. Away from home, Ecuador has always struggled, and they could do so again. They will have to work hardest to qualify from this group.


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