Quarter-finals: France – Colombia – Belgium – Costa Rica
World Cup progress: Group stage
Team rating: 6
Top scorer: Enner Valencia (3)
Ecuador were in pole position to go through heading into their final group match, only to slip behind Switzerland after failing to beat France, writes Stephen Donovan.
Enner’s efforts in vain
Drawn in what was arguably one of the weakest groups, Ecuador were confident of making it into the knockout stages at least, only to miss out after failing to win their final group match as Switzerland snatched second place.
The crucial moment in their World Cup came right at the end of their meeting with the Swiss, as Haris Seferovic netted a dramatic winner. Despite victory over Honduras, thanks to Enner Valencia’s second and third goals of the tournament, they were unable to beat France in their final match and so became the first South American side to be eliminated.
The Coach – Reinaldo Rueda
Known for being a cautious manager, Rueda had his team well organised for the most part, and got the best out of striker Enner Valencia. However, he perhaps took his caution too far in their final game against France, where he never went all out for the win they needed.
Player of the Tournament – Enner Valencia
Enner Valencia was the man who gave Ecuador the chance of making it through the group stage, scoring all three of their goals in the tournament, including both in the win over Honduras. As a result of his outstanding performances, he finished the tournament on a personal run of six goals in as many internationals.
The win over Honduras was their first at the World Cup since 2006, and was special for manager Rueda as he defeated his former side.
|4||D||Juan Carlos Paredes||3||–||1|
|16||M||Luis Antonio Valencia||3||–||–|
For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.