Ecuador remain on the periphery of football in South America as they come into just their fourth-ever appearance at the World Cup amid questions in the final-third dominating the national profile.
Though La Tricolor have tasted defeat just once this calendar year, goals are very much at a premium for head coach Gustavo Alfaro who remain heavily reliant on veteran striker Enner Valencia, though there is a cadre of young players that could offer some measure of vibrancy into the squad should he make that gamble.
Having emerged from the group stage just once back in 2006 before being knocked out in the round of 16, Ecuador will be up against it in a group containing the Netherlands, Senegal, and hosts Qatar.
Ecuador World Cup 2022 Tips
Read the latest Ecuador odds ahead of the World Cup, including their odds to win the tournament, odds to claim the golden boot, 101 Great Goals’ top tip and more 2022 World Cup predictions and tips.
Ecuador World Cup Predictions
Ecuador are in a group with Qatar, Senegal and Netherlands, and while that may appear to be one of the friendliest groups of the World Cup, they are still not in the most likely top two to make it through. It’s likely to be a tough tournament for an Ecuador side more used to drawing than winning.
Ecuador Golden Boot Prediction
Valencia has been on the scene for a while and has a strong record in Ecuador colours, including two goals at the 2014 World Cup, but he is unlikely to get the numbers required to challenge for the golden boot.
Alfaro was the sixth head coach of the Ecuador side in as many years upon his appointment in 2020, but after years of upheaval, he has settled somewhat into the role and guided the national team into the World Cup finals for the fourth time in their history. An Argentine native, Alfaro is a vastly experienced managed having been on the scene since 1992 but this is his first venture into international management having previously coached in Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Argentina again.
While his record isn’t brilliant with Ecuador, he has almost a 50% win record in his 32 games in charge and success in Qatar will mean pushing Senegal close in an attempt to qualify. They should be eyeing an opening day victory against Qatar that could give them an outside chance of qualification.
Total appearances: 4
First qualification: 2002
Most recent: 2014
Best achievement: Round of 16 (2006)
World Ranking: 44
Overall record: P10, W4, D1, L5
Now 32 and possibly participating in his final World Cup, veteran striker Enner Valencia remains the only consistent goal threat for Ecuador and his 35 goals sees him as the nations all-time leading scorer. If there is any chance for them to upset the apple cart, it surely comes down to him.
One of the brightest young midfielders in the Premier League, Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo offers a box-to-box profile that could add some attacking intrigue for Alfaro’s men while possibly taking some of the defensive focus away from Valencia up front.
Hincapié has emerged as a defensive stalwart for Ecuador after making the jump to Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen and fast-becoming one of the top performers at the Bay Arena in the last two years. Blessed with brilliant aerial ability and comfort on the ball that can help build play from the back, the 20-year-old is a star in the making for his country.
101′s Ecuador World Cup Tip
101 Great Goals thinks that Ecuador are going to struggle to make it out of their group. Qatar’s presence should mean they avoid coming rock bottom, but a third-place finish is the most likely.
Ecuador stats, fixtures and results
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