Ecuador World Cup Preview & Analysis: Schedule, Roster & Projections
Pictured: Moises Caicedo.
- Ecuador will be in Group A at the World Cup.
- Do they have a chance to reach the knockout stages?
- Read on for a roster, schedule and full tactical analysis.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has arrived, and Action Network's staff of soccer experts are here to take you through each and every team that will be participating.
Read on for a full breakdown of Ecuador ahead of the tournament.
Ecuador World Cup Preview
Group A has chaos written all over it, and Ecuador could be the team that incites it.
Considered a longshot to get through the notoriously long and difficult CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying campaign, Ecuador finished fourth in South America, ahead of the likes of Peru, Colombia and Chile, to earn an automatic bid to Qatar.
It's an impressive feat for a team that underwent plenty of adversity — they're on their fourth manager since July 2019 and were almost kicked out of the tournament for fielding an illegal player — but it isn't enough to make them one of the favorites to get out of Group A, which also features the Netherlands, Senegal and Qatar.
The group setup is quite fascinating from a betting standpoint, because the Netherlands are not considered as one of the elite teams in the tournament despite being a favorite in this group. The price on the Oranje only plummeted because they were drawn into a soft group.
|Chances To…||Action Projections||bet365 Odds|
|Win Group Stage||28.53%||+400|
|Advance To Knockout Round||66.07%||-125|
|Win World Cup||0.91%||+15000|
|Odds as of publish. Action projections by Nick Giffen of the Action Predictive Analytics team.|
There is love for Senegal out there, and it has opened up a buying opportunity on Ecuador, who also will be pleased with their draw. Not only did they get the easiest Pot 1 team in Qatar, but they also are scheduled to open the tournament against the hosts, which provides La Tri with a great opportunity to put three points in their pocket right out of the gates.
Of course, that match with the hosts could get, uh, weird. FIFA has jumped through all kinds of hoops to put this World Cup in Qatar (including moving the match up a day a few months ago), so it wouldn't be surprising to see a very unique home-field advantage for Qatar. Despite that, Ecuador are +110 favorites to take the spoils on Nov. 20.
Ecuador can draw on their experience in hostile environments during CONMEBOL as a reason to back themselves in that opener, but it's not just the intangibles that make La Tri an interesting sleeper. There's high-upside talent here, too.
Moises Caicedo is the star man for this outfit, and he is an absolute force in the middle of the pitch. Caicedo can play in every phase of the game and will drive the bus in a midfield that won't be much fun to play against.
Pervis Estupinan, Caicedo's Brighton teammate, will also provide some attacking flair down the left flank, while Enner Valencia is a suitable target man. Valencia, like many of his teammates, wouldn't make a lot of rosters at the top of this field, but he's a mainstay on Ecuador, so he knows what he needs to do for this team to have success.
Had Ecuador been drawn in a tougher group, they'd be pretty easy to ignore. But things broke right for La Tri on the stage back in April, making them an intriguing punt as a team to make some noise.
This roster has been tested plenty over the past 24 months, so bet against them at your own risk.
Key Player: Moises Caicedo
One of the bright, young stars in the English Premier League, it didn't take long for Caicedo to be linked with a move from Brighton to a top club. A few blinding performances out of the gate and the 22-year-old was rumored to be on the shortlist at Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. Brighton are rumored to want £85 million for Caicedo.
He is an all-purpose midfielder who can pull the strings, spring counters and provide a strong defensive shift. He'll need every bit of his toolkit throughout the group stages as La Tri are likely to play three very different matches. Against Qatar, you can expect Ecuador to have more of the ball and rely on Caicedo to be the maestro, but against the Netherlands, he'll need to have an impact out of possession and be able to disrupt a strong Dutch engine room.
Senegal vs. Ecuador is harder to call, but however it turns out, you can expect Caicedo's impact to be felt.
Ecuador will be expected to play out of a 4-3-3 with Caicedo acting as the linchpin in the middle of the park. Caicedo's ability to fill a number of different roles from the center of the midfield allows Ecuador to be an adaptive unit, which will be key considering their group is set up for them to play three different matches.
If Ecuador are playing well, it will likely correlate to Caicedo's impact on the game. A terrific player with the ball at his feet, if he's got time on the ball he can find Estupinan, Valencia, Michael Estrada or Angel Mena in attacking positions.
Ecuador's spine is their strength, as Piero Hincapie and Felix Torres have created an effective partnership in the middle of the defense and should be capable enough behind the midfield three of Caicedo, Carlos Gruezo and Alan Franco.
The goals might not fly in for Ecuador given their lack of finishing talent, but they should be a well-organized outfit that's difficult to break down.
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Ecuador World Cup Schedule
|Qatar||11 a.m. ET, Nov. 20|
|Netherlands||11 p.m. ET, Nov. 25|
|Senegal||10 a.m. ET, Nov. 29|
Most Recent World Cup Result
Group Stage, Third Place (2014)
Ecuador qualified for the World Cup Finals in 2014, when they were in a group with France, Switzerland and Honduras. They secured four points but weren't able to qualify out of the group stage.