Ecuador: Team Preview- 2015 Copa America
As one of only three countries that head into the Copa America having never won it, and with injuries plaguing the squad, Ecuador will have their task cut out if they are to make an impression at the tournament once it kicks off in Santiago on the 11th of June.
This will be the first big tournament of this new era of Ecuadorian football that is being headed by coach Gustavo Quinteros, who was appointed at the helm in January, in the aftermath of the Andeans having an underwhelming campaign at the World Cup in Brazil last year.
There is a conception that Ecuador don’t tend to do well outside the altitude of Quito, and there has been little in the recent past to suggest that there is any threat to that fact. Ecuador head into the Copa America with what can only be called a calamitous recent record in the competition, with them being eliminated in the group stages of all the previous five Copas. In the sixteen games they’ve played in the competition over that span, Ecuador have won only one game, while losing 13 games in the process.
Ecuador will be rather strongly hit by the injury inflicted absence of Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia as well as Felipe Caicedo. Valencia’s absence could well be a blessing in disguise as Ecuador have seemed to be far too reliant on the right-winger in recent times.
In their absence, La Tri’s offensive responsibilities will be shouldered by West Ham's Enner Valencia and Swansea's Jefferson Montero. Captain Walter Ayovi and Watford's Juan Carlos Paredes will be the mainstays in Ecuador’s rearguard.
Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez, Librado Azcona, Esteban Dreer
Defenders: Walter Ayovi, Juan Carlos Paredes, Frickson Erazo, Gabriel Achilier, Oscar Bagui, Arturo Mina, Mario Pineida, John Narvaez
Midfielders: Christian Noboa, Jefferson Montero, Renato Ibarra, Pedro Quinonez, Juan Cazares, Jonathan Gonzalez, Osbaldo Lastra, Pedro Larrea
Forwards: Enner Valencia, Fidel Martinez, Miller Bolanos, Daniel Angulo
The man at the helm is an Argentine-Bolivian, who made 26 appearances for Bolivia. Gustavo Quinteros was appointed in late January, and he will be looking to better the Ecuadorian's showing at any of the previous five Copas, at least.
Quinteros was appointed after he led Emelec to consecutive First Division titles in Ecuador. Quinteros has vast experience of the Ecuadorian domestic league, and that has shown in his squad, with 13 of the 23 players chosen, plying their trade on domestic shores in Ecuador.
Quinteros was in charge of Bolivia at the 2011 edition of the Copa America, when the Bolivians had a poor tournament, where the only point they managed was courtesy a draw against hosts Argentina.
Best starting XI
Defenders: Ayovi, Mina, Erazo, Paredes
Midfielders: Montero, Noboa, Quinonez, Ibarra
Forwards: Bolanos, Enner Valencia
Tactics and Formations
Ecuador have traditionally always gone in with a 4-4-2 formation, and there was no evidence in Quinteros’s first two friendly matches in charge that there is going to be any change to that.
With Antonio Valencia and Michael Arroyo injured and ruled out of the competition, their spots in the starting line-up are expected to be taken by Renato Ibarra and Pedro Quinonez respectively.
Miller Bolanos is the man who is expected to play alongside Enner Valencia, spearheading Ecuador’s goal threat. Jefferson Montero, who will take his place on Ecuador’s left flank will be the main creative influence in Ecuador’s play, and the Swansea man will look to build on the decent season he had for the Welsh side in the Premier League.
The rearguard has experienced players in it, with the likes of Juan Carlos Paredes, Frickson Erazo and skipper Walter Ayovi. With the team missing a couple of its offensive stalwarts, it is imperative that the Ecuador defenders remain steady so that their strikers will not have to face added pressure.
Copa America History
Ecuador have never won the Copa America, with their best performance being a semifinal entry in the 1993 edition that they hosted.
|1975||Round 2 Exit|
|1979||Round 3 Exit|
|1983||Round 1 Exit|
|1987||Round 1 Exit|
|1989||Round 1 Exit|
|1991||Round 1 Exit|
|1995||Group Stage Exit|
|1999||Group Stage Exit|
|2001||Group Stage Exit|
|2004||Group Stage Exit|
|2007||Group Stage Exit|
|2011||Group Stage Exit|
Ecuador have got the benefit of the draw, being clubbed in Group A along with hosts Chile, Mexico and Bolivia. With Mexico fielding a largely young side, and Bolivia traditionally being punching bags outside their havens in the altitudes of La Paz, Ecuador will be disappointed if they do not make the top two, let alone the top three.
Ecuador should be able to make the Quarterfinals, but whether they make it further than that, will depend on the oppositions and circumstances that will face them, then.
Published 10 Jun 2015, 21:28 IST