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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Maximo Banguera (Barcelona), Adrian Bone (El Nacional), Alexander Dominguez (LDU)

Defenders:  Gabriel Achilier (Emelec), Walter Ayovi (Pachuca), Oscar Bagui (Emelec), Frickson Erazo (Flamengo), Jorge Guagua (Emelec), Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Michael Arroyo (Atlante), Oswaldo Minda (Chivas), Carlos Gruezo (Stuttgart), Renato Ibarra (Vitesse), Fidel Martinez (Tijuana), Edison Mendez (Independiente Santa Fe), Christian Noboa (Dynamo Moscow), Luis Fernando Saritama (Barcelona), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Forwards: Jaime Ayovi (Tijuana), Felipe Caicedo (Al Jazira), Jefferson Montero (Morelia), Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul), Enner Valencia (Pachuca)

Ecuador
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

Ecuador failed to qualify for the last FIFA World Cup, so will be determined to make their presence felt this time around.

The South American nation have only featured in two previous World Cup finals, in 2002 and 2006, while the showpiece in Brazil gives them the chance to play on the biggest stage of all on their own continent for the first time.

Ecuador made up for the disappointment of missing the 2010 event in South Africa by clinching the fourth and final automatic CONMEBOL qualifying berth for the eagerly-awaited 2014 tournament.

In doing so, they edged out a highly-rated Uruguay side, an achievement that says a lot about the quality Ecuador possess.

However, all seven of their victories in qualifying came in home matches played at high altitude, leading to doubts over their capabilities away from Quito, the nation's capital.

Reinaldo Rueda's men may not be expected to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but they will certainly be hopeful of making the last 16.

Switzerland, Honduras and France provide the opposition in Group E and, although the latter will be fancied to take top spot, Ecuador will know the 1998 champions are not the force they used to be.

While Switzerland hold a top-10 position in the FIFA world ranking and Honduras pulled off a number of impressive wins to book their place in Brazil, there would appear to be reason for Rueda and his side to be optimistic.

Much could depend on an opening game against Switzerland on June 15 as Ecuador seek to repeat their feat in Germany eight years ago, when they progressed to the knockout stages.

Captain Antonio Valencia is the biggest name in the Ecuador squad and Rueda knows the Manchester United man is key to his nation’s hopes of making an impact.

A winger who can also operate at right-back and in central midfield, Valencia has plenty of big-game experience and will be looked upon to aid the younger members of the squad.

Valencia and Ecuador were dealt a tragic blow last July when striker Christian Benitez died at the age of 27 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Benitez, who Valencia described as a "brother", was set to lead the line for his country in Brazil before his life was cut short so prematurely.

Rueda made Valencia captain following Benitez's passing as he sought to bring his squad together in extremely difficult circumstances.

Benitez's goals - he scored four in nine games during qualifying - are hard to replace for Ecuador, and away from his on-pitch contribution he was also a hugely popular member of the side.

Greater responsibility is set to fall on the likes of Felipe Caicedo and Jefferson Montero, in addition to Valencia, who will seek to inspire his team-mates in memory of his close friend.

And given the tragedy that Ecuador have experienced, it would be a fitting tribute to the memory of Benitez if his country were able to make an impact at the World Cup finals.


Player Profile (Jefferson Montero)Edit

Position: Winger
Date of Birth: September 1, 1989
Club: Monarcas Morelia
International Debut: v Peru (November 21, 2007)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0

Jefferson Montero has made no secret of his desire to return to Europe and the Ecuador winger will put himself in the shop window in Brazil.

The 24-year-old spent three years in Spain before returning to South America to join Mexican club Monarcas Morelia in June 2012.

With a sharp turn of pace and the ability to torment defenders with his trickery, Montero has since become a key player for club and country.

There was much talk of a move to Arsenal and Cardiff City in January and although a switch to the Premier League never materialised, he will get the opportunity to showcase his talents on the biggest stage of all at the FIFA World Cup.

Antonio Valencia is undoubtedly the most high-profile member of the Ecuador team, but Montero could overshadow his fellow winger when he features in his first World Cup finals.

Direct and confident on the ball, Montero resembles a traditional wide player capable of giving full-backs a torrid time when at his best.

Primarily employed out on the left flank, he has the ability to cut inside or go to the byline and will be expected to provide an attacking threat for Reinaldo Rueda's side when they face Switzerland, Honduras and France in Group E.

Paraguay experienced at first hand the impact Montero is capable of making when he scored twice and set up another goal in a 4-1 victory in qualification for Brazil back in March.

He scored three times in all as Ecuador took the fourth and final automatic CONMEBOL qualification berth for the finals, denying Uruguay on goal difference.

Ecuador failed to qualify for the tournament in South Africa four years ago and Montero also missed out on the Copa America in 2011 as he failed to make an impact in Spain with Villarreal and in a loan spell at Levante.

Rather than feel sorry for himself, the wideman used that frustration as motivation to get his career back on track.

"It was a big blow, and it hurt me a lot," Montero told FIFA.com. "It taught me a lesson, and showed me what I needed to do to be part of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I really enjoy reading quotes by famous people. There's one by Michael Jordan, where he says that when he wasn't picked for big tournaments, he used the setbacks to become more mature. I pushed myself much harder, and now here I am."

Montero, who can also operate in a more central role, did enjoy a more fruitful loan move to Real Betis before heading to Morelia, as he helped the Seville side preserve their La Liga status.

Having started his career at Emelec in his homeland, he joined Independiente Jose Teran and also made a short loan switch at Dorados in 2008.

Big things were expected of Montero when he made his international debut as a late substitute in a 5-1 World Cup qualifying hammering of Peru at the age of 18 back in 2007.

Montero scored his first competitive international goal against the same opponents the following year, and six years on his finest hour will come when Ecuador compete in the World Cup for only the third time.


News SourcesEdit

http://www.eluniverso.com/

http://www.elcomercio.com/

http://www.telegrafo.com.ec/

http://www.lahora.com.ec/