World Cup 2022 team preview: Expect Ecuador to struggle in Group A

Paddy's football trader Dylan Walsh runs the ruler over Ecuador's chances.

Enner Valencia Ecuador

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‘La Tri’ or ‘La Tricolor’ are still a new prospect when it comes to World Cup tournaments, having only qualified for their first in 2002 and never progressing past the last 16 in their three previous appearances.

They finished their qualification campaign in ropey form, drawing three of their last four matches but did manage a draw against an already-qualified Argentina to secure their place in Qatar.

Standout results over the campaign include a 4-2 victory over Uruguay in the early stages and a 1-1 draw against tournament favourites Brazil in an eventful encounter where Alisson was sent off twice only for the fouls to be downgraded after VAR review and Ecuador’s captain/goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez and Brazil’s Emerson both sent to the stands.

Our footy trader Dylan Walsh takes you through what to expect from Group A side Ecuador at the World Cup 2022.

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Gustavo Julio Alfaro Ecuador Manager

Ecuador World Cup 2022 qualifying record

Ecuador qualified for the World Cup off the back of good early form and have not been great in the run up to the tournament, finishing just three points ahead of Peru to automatically qualify in fourth position of South America’s system. Michael Estrada (who plays irregularly for Cruz Azul in the Mexican league) finished as top goal scorer with just six goals in total.

Who is the Ecuador manager?

Gustavo Julio Alfaro had a short career as a professional footballer in Argentina before retiring to focus on his coaching career. He has since been moving around their football divisions and managed Boca Juniors to third place in the Argentine Primera Division and won the Argentine Super Cup by beating his previous team, Rosario Central, on penalties. He also had a brief spell managing Ah Ahli in Saudi Arabia in 2009.

Ecuador World Cup squad

Ecuador are likely to play a 4-2-3-1 formation but have alternated their set up depending on the opposition they face. Moises Caicedo and Carlos Gruezo do the defensive work in the midfield and are guaranteed to start while they rely on former West Ham and Everton forward Enner Valencia to score the goals.

A large majority of the Ecuador squad starters play in middling Bundesliga and Premier League clubs and occupy defensive positions. Brighton have a strong contingent with Pervis Estupinan and Caicedo being nailed on starters (and Jeremy Sarmiento also in the squad) while Augsberg and Bayer Leverkusen get representation with Gruezo and Piero Hincapie respectively.

Ecuador aren’t a spectacular side but can grind out a result when needed, as shown in their draws against Brazil, Argentina and potential Group E dark horse Japan in their last few fixtures.

Romario Ibarra Ecuador

Ecuador Key Player

Moises Caicedo gained the title as the first international goalscorer in CONEMBOL World Cup qualifying born in the 21st century when he scored in Ecuador’s impressive 4-2 victory over Uruguay early in the qualifying campaign. He’s enjoyed a super season to date at Brighton and has filled in the role left by Yves Bissouma’s transfer to Tottenham with ease.

Following a tremendously impressive performance against Manchester United in Brighton’s surprise 2-1 victory on the opening day of the season, there was a slew of suitors looking for Caicedo before the window closed. If Ecuador are to progress past the group, Caicedo will need to take that form into the tournament.

Ecuador One to Watch

In a side where defensive solidity will determine their success going forward, 20-year-old Piero Hincapie will have a lot of eyes on him. Leverkusen signed him at just 19 onto a five-year contract to make him the fourth Ecuadorian to play in the Bundesliga.

Ecuador World Cup Prospects

Ecuador would think they have a decent chance of getting out of the group if they can get a result against Qatar on the opening night. They are unlikely to get anything against the Netherlands, so the outcome of the group will most likely by decided in their final fixture against Senegal. They will most likely enter this match as underdogs so progression past the group stage would be a successful tournament.

A likely last 16 opponent would be England who they have history with after David Beckham knocked them out at the same stage back in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Revenge will be unlikely, though, as England would be expected to win comfortably, leaving the tournament with their heads held high having matched their best showing from 2006.

Ecuador World Cup betting tips

BACK

Ecuador are a very defensive side and definitely like a yellow card. Over the course of qualifying, they amassed 40 cards in 17 games. Look to target the Over 2.5 lines and look at forwards like Enner Valencia and Gonzalo Plata for big prices on yellow cards. ECUADOR MOST CARDS IN EVERY GAME

AVOID

They shouldn’t be on the same price as Senegal who have a much better player base and are one of the best teams out of Africa currently. ECUADOR TO QUALIFY FROM GROUP A

Ecuador World Cup 2022 Winner Odds

Ecuador World Cup 2022 Fixtures

November 20, 4pm: Qatar v Ecuador (BBC)

November 25, 4pm: Netherlands v Ecuador (ITV)

November 29, 3pm: Ecuador v Senegal (ITV)

CLICK BELOW FOR TEAM PREVIEWS ON ECUADOR’S GROUP A RIVALS

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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