Ecuador had an impressive World Cup qualification, coming in fourth place in South America, securing the last automatic spot in the continent. They went 7-5-6, finishing the campaign with 26 total points and a goal difference of eight, the third-best in South American qualifications. Despite the team being ranked 46 by FIFA nationally, they managed to knock out Colombia and Chile, who both rank in the top 30 and forced Peru, which ranked 22nd, into a playoff game. Ecuador battled to make it to the World Cup soccer 2022, and will need to keep fighting if they want to make it out of Group A with Senegal, Qatar, and the Netherlands. These are five reasons why Ecuador can make it out of Group A.
1. Playing Above Their Ranking
The last time FIFA updated its Men’s International soccer ranks was March 31, 2022. This was after Ecuador qualified for the World Cup, beating out three teams listed in the top 30 to make it Ecuador also plays in one of the toughest continents to qualify for the World Cup, with seven teams listed in the top 50 and four in the top 20. Ecuador played well throughout the competition, winning the games against weaker teams in South America and holding firm against the top teams in Argentina and Brazil. In the 2021 Copa America, Ecuador made it out of the group stage, with three draws and a loss, with one of the draws coming against eventual runner-up Brazil. They lost in the second round to the eventual winner Argentina in the quarterfinals.
2. Experience Against the World’s Best
Brazil is ranked No. 1, while Argentina is ranked fourth by FIFA out of all teams in the world. Both dominated qualifications for the World Cup odds, with neither losing a game. In the first meeting in the competition, Ecuador lost to Argentina 1-0 and Brazil 2-0, but in the second meeting, they drew with both at 1-1. Though it is not the most significant accomplishmen, against teams as dominant as two of the favorites to win the World Cup, it does lean a little in Ecuador’s favor.
3. Strong Attacking Front
During World Cup qualifications, Ecuador played as one of the best teams in South America, scoring 27 goals, tied for the second-most in the competition, and allowing 19, tied for the third-least goals allowed. The attack was impressive throughout, with Michael Estrada tied for the fourth-most goals with six. Enner Valencia, Ecuador’s top goal-scorer in the nation’s history with 35, also added four goals. A 20-year-old Moises Caicedo fed the two main strikers the ball with four assists, and Angel Mena added three more. Caicedo tied for the fourth-most assists in the competition while Mena tied for fifth. All four will play a crucial role in creating and finishing scoring chances in the World Cup.
4. An Evenly Matched Group A
The groups in the 2022 World Cup are evenly spaced. Ecuador is lucky to have none of the clear favorites in their group, allowing them a chance to sneak out. The Netherlands, which is ranked 10th by FIFA, is by far the biggest test However, the team is young and, missing out on the 2018 World Cup, leaves it inexperienced in the world’s most loved tournament. Senegal is the top-ranked team out of Africa, No. 20 by FIFA overall. The team is filled with players from Europe’s top five leagues, making them a tough challenge. Qatar has mainly qualified because they are the host nation, after having never appeared in any other World Cup. Ecuador plays their first game against Qatar and a win would go a long way in their hopes to make it out. They have experience against the top teams in the world, so holding The Netherlands and Senegal to a draw is possible. After that, a little luck has to be on their side.
5. Experience in Group A
The last time Ecuador made it out of the group stage in the World Cup was in 2006, when they were also in Group A. It was only the second time the county had been in the World Cup, and it was their first time getting to the Round of 16. In the group stage, they beat Poland 2-0 and Costa Rica 3-0, before losing to host nation and eventual third-place winner Germany 3-0. All three teams ranked higher than Ecuador at the time, which is a similar situation outside of Qatar. Ecuador has surprised in Group A once before. Who is to say they can’t do it again?