The First Time
Prior to 2002, Ecuador failed to qualify for 16 editions of the World Cup. It was unthinkable for La Tricolor to finish in the top five of the CONMEBOL qualifiers over powerhouses like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Colombia.
Well, in 1999 Hernan Dario Gomez took over as La Tricolor head coach and led them to the promised land. Ecuador finished second on the road to the 2002 WC in South Korea and Japan. Argentina finished first with 43 points, while La Tricolor ended with 31. Brazil finished third with 30.
Agustin Delgado led the way with nine goals. He was followed by Ivan Kaviedes with three. In other words, Delgado was crucial for Ecuador to qualify for its first WC. However, things didn’t go as expected.
They faced Italy, Croatia, and Mexico in Group G. They made their debut against the Azzurri and lost 2-0. Five days later, they lost 2-1 against Mexico. Finally, they defeated Croatia 1-0, but it was too late. Delgado scored the goal against Mexico, while Edison Mendez scored against Croatia.
This is it! Ecuador’s Best World Cup moment happened in Germany 2006. With Luis Fernando Suarez in charge, as Gomez was fired in 2004, La Tricolor finished third in the qualifiers with 28 points. Only Brazil and Argentina made more with 34.
Expectations toward the WC were already high but incremented when the draw placed Ecuador in Group A with the host, Poland and Costa Rica. La Tricolor made its debut against Poland and won 2-0. Carlos Tenorio and Agustin Delgado were the scorers. Tenorio, Delgado, and Kaviedes were the scorers.
Six days later, they had no mercy on Costa Rica and won 3-0. That result allowed them to advance to the Round of 16 for the first. They went from never qualifying for the WC to being among the best 16 teams in the world.
Finally, they lost 3-0 to Germany, but they were already qualified so it didn’t matter. In the Round of 16, they collided with England, and put up a good fight, but ended up losing 1-0. David Beckham scored the winning goal in the second half.
Due to goal differences, Ecuador finished the 2006 WC in 12th place. Only Argentina and Brazil made it to the Round of 8, but they failed to advance to the semifinals. No other team from America finished ahead of La Tricolor.
Thanks to Ecuador’s performance in the WC, Suarez became a respected head coach. Later, he took Honduras to its third WC in Brazil 2014. As for Ecuador’s National Team, they failed to qualify for South Africa 2010. Four years later, they qualified for Brazil 2014 but couldn’t survive the Group Stage. They failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
Ecuador in Qatar 2022
Ecuador’s challenge in the 2022 WC is to advance to the Round of 8 for the first time. First, they have to make it out of Group A, in which they’ll face Netherlands, Senegal, and Qatar. That’s right, they’ll face the host country once again.
La Tricolor is offering a +600 price to win the group. As expected, Netherlands is the soccer betting favorite at -250, while Senegal is +450 and Qatar is +1400. They’ll make their debut against Qatar to later face Netherlands and Senegal.
This time, they’ll be led by Michael Estrada, also known as Chocolatin, who’ll be playing in his first WC and is eager to help the team rewrite history once again.