Ecuador odds to qualify from Group E could surprise a few

Ecuador are no longer one of the South American whipping boys and after missing out on the 2010 World Cup, they are back for Brazil as their price of 9/2 to win Group E could see plenty of attention.

Manager: Reinaldo Rueda
World Cup best: Round of 16 (2006)
How they qualified:
Fourth place in CONMEBOL qualification

Their home form was the key to qualification, winning seven and drawing just once at the Estadio Olimpico.

Away from their home ground, their form is in complete contrast, without a win losing at both Paraguay and Peru.

They finished just a point clear of fifth placed Uruguay who went into the play-off, but realistically they were assured of a place in Brazil with a game to go.

Star player: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

His form may not be what it was two years ago, but Antonio Valencia is a key player for the national side and is key on the right.

He has previously played centrally for Ecuador, however he will undoubtedly be his nations go to man.

One to watch: Jefferson Montero (Morelia)

Jefferson Montero was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League and Cardiff City at the start of the campaign.

Although a deal fell through, the man on the opposite flank to Valencia looks set to impress in Brazil and a move to Europe beckons.

Strengths

The majority of Ecuador’s team play together and their unity can only be a positive for the tournament.

Ecuador are used to the conditions in South America and their physicality levels will be up there with the best at the competition.

Weaknesses

Injuries to key defenders such as Eduardo Morante and Jayro Campos mean they are heavily restricted in that position.

Young defenders have been included in the squad and whether they are ready to compete at the highest level is unknown.

How far can they go?

Their fixture with Switzerland is key in determining who is likely to progress with group favourites France.

Lose that they are probably out, win it they are probably through!

Squad

Goalkeepers: Maximo Banguera, Alexander Dominguez, Adrian Bone

Defenders: Frickson Erazo, Jorge Guagua, Jhon Narvaez, Oscar Bagui, Gabriel Achilier, Walter Ayovi, Juan Carlos Paredes, Cristian Ramirez

Midfielders: Segundo Castillo, Carlos Gruezo, Renato Ibarra, Cristian Noboa, Pedro Quinonez, Luis Saritama, Antonio Valencia, Edison Mendez, Fidel Martinez , Oswaldo Minda, Michael Arroyo

Forwards: Felipe Caicedo, Jefferson Montero, Joao Rojas, Armando Wila, Jaime Ayovi, Enner Valencia, Cristian Penilla, Angel Mena

*Squad will be cut by one to 23 before the start of the tournament

Group E
Switzerland
Ecuador
France
Honduras

Fixtures

Sunday 15th June: Switzerland vs. Ecuador 17:00
Friday 20th June: Honduras vs. Ecuador 23:00
Wednesday 25th June: Ecuador vs. France 21:00

Lewis Jones has over 5 years experience in web publishing, having worked at a number of well known UK facing sports websites. He can be reached at Google+ for more information.

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