Ecuador Team - 2014 World Cup Betting
Best Finish: Group Play, 2002, 2006
Manager: Reinaldo Reuda
Captain: Antonio Valencia
Key Player: Antonio Valencia
Group E: With France, Honduras and Switzerland
After securing their first two World Cup berths in 2002 and 2006, Ecuador fought hard to make it back after falling short in 2010. And they grabbed the fourth and final automatic spot in the brutal CONMEBOL group by going 7-4-5 (W-D-L) and beating Uruguay out on goal differential. In fact, it was a victory over Uruguay that sealed Ecuador's bid in the 2014 World Cup.
One thing that will be key for this team in Brazil is winning away from home. On the international stage, Ecuador has been very good on their own soil. However, they've had some struggles on the road. At least "La Tri" can take comfort in knowing that they'll be playing very close to home the entire time.
A huge advantage that Ecuador has is their fast-paced style, which is very unsettling for opponents. It's even tougher for the opposition to slow down this attack when one considers talented wingers like Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia. The latter will be crucial to the Ecuadorians' success because Valencia has the speed and skill to burn other teams around the goal. But as he's shown in Premier League play, Valencia's strong abilities are minimized by his inconsistency from match to match.
One more key player for La Tri is Felipe Caicedo. The striker led this team in qualifying matches with seven goals in 16 matches. His production will be especially important with the passing of Ecuador's star, Christian Benítez. Last summer, Benítez went into respiratory failure and died from cardiac arrest at the age of 27.
This was a huge blow to a team that still remains fairly strong from an attacking standpoint. But Ecuador's biggest problems lie in the midfield and on defense. Benítez's death coupled with a suspect crop of midfielders and defenders could make it hard for Ecuador to advance out of their group. However, their tricky style and talented wingers give them a chance to compete.