Ecuador name their team to face Argentina


Reinaldo Rueda has announced his starting 11 for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

In defence Rueda has opted for the inexperienced trio of Gabriel Achilier, Jorge Guagua and Jayro Campos who have only 17 caps between them. In addition to this the goalkeeper, Alexander Domínguez also has only 2 international caps. The coach will be hoping that veteran Walter Ayovi is calming influence in the expected barrages of attack.

Ecuador’s real strength is in midfield and the creative influence and pace of Antonio Valencia and Christian Noboa, both of which have had impressive seasons in Europe.



Goal scoring opportunities may be at a premium in the La Bombonera but luckily Ecuador have striker who is on fire at present. Christain “Chuco”Benitez has been a prolific goal scorer in Mexico’s Primera División for the past few years. Birmingham fans may not share this opinion but a tally of 73 goals 126 matches, in a competitive league holds up to scrutiny.



Alexander Domínguez (LDU Quito)

Jairo Campos (Barcelona/Ecua)       Jorge Guagua (Atlante/MX)

Gabriel Achilier (Emelec)   Walter Ayoví (Monterrey)


Segundo Alejandro Castillo (Pachuca)

        Christian Noboa (Dynamo Kiev)  

            Luis Fernando Saritama(Deportivo Quito)

Luis Antonio Valencia (Man Utd)        

                                                                                                               Jefferson Montero   (Real Betis)  

                                       Christian Benítez (Club America)


Tomorrow’s game will be Ecuador’s biggest test yet in the qualification campaign. As underdogs and facing an array of recognised superstars a draw in Buenos Aires would be considered a major triumph.

Bolivia managed to capture a 1-1 draw last November but it seems as if, with his more daring line-up Rueda expects more than to simply “park the bus”.

South American (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifying (part 3).

The coming international double header may provide the opportunity for some countries to move ahead and away from the pack.  Uruguay and Argentina have only one game to play but as home ties should feel confident in extending their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.

However with Venezuela and Ecuador close behind and benefiting from two games they could overtake the current leaders and favourites.


Saturday June 2nd

Uruguay v Venezuela

Bolivia v Chile

Argentina v Ecuador

Sunday June 3rd

Peru        v   Colombia

Saturday June 9th

Bolivia   v Paraguay

Venezuela     v Chile

Sunday June 10th

Ecuador v Colombia

Venezuela faces a tough trip to Montevideo followed by a home tie versus Chile. La Vinotinto (The Burgundy) have never qualified for a World Cup but are currently enjoying their most successful period. After a best ever 4rth position in last year’s Copa America they now lay 3rd after 4 games.

With most of their players now playing in Europe Venezuela has a strong squad which includes the likes of Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach), José Salomón Rondón (Malgaga) and Nicolas Fedor (Getafe) in attack.

Allied to this they have an imposing centre half duo in Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Club America), who scored the only goal in their last competitive match against Bolivia in November and veteran José Manuel Rey (Deportivo Lara).

Venezuela vs Bolivia (November 2011)

Indeed ring rustiness may be a factor in Venezuela’s coming games as they have only played friendly games this year and with mixed results (defeats against Spain, Costa Rica, the USA , Mexico and one win against Moldova).

These two difficult games will go a long way to determining Venezuela’s qualification even at this relatively early stage.


Team                    P              W            D             L              GF          GA          Pts

Uruguay               3              2              1              0              9              3             7

Argentina            4              2              1              1              7              4             7

Venezuela            4              2              1              1              3              3            7

Ecuador                3              2              0              1              5              2             6

Chile                      4              2               0              2              7            10           6

Colombia              3              1              1              1              4              4             4

Paraguay              4              1              1              2              3              6              4

Peru                       3              1              0              2              4              6              3

Bolivia                  4                0              1              3              4              8              1

It’s hard to imagine a World Cup without Argentina and without the unnerving influence of Diego Maradona this time, La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue) should easily qualify for Brazil. Despite a disappointing World Cup and an even more disappointing Copa America on home soil, Argentina currently have a side to match any on the planet.

Captain and current World player of the year Lionel Messi again has had an impressive season with Barcelona. Although he has not managed to win any major trophies this year his goal tally has reached an unmatched 73 in all competitions. It only remains to see if he can replicate his club form as so far for Argentina he has largely disappointed.

Lionel Messi

With a triumvirate of Messi, Kun Aguero (Man City) and Higuaín (Real Madrid) and back-up in Tevez (Man City), Lavezzi (Napoli) or Milito (Inter) it is hard to match the attacking potency of Argentina.

Similarly in midfield Di Maria (Real Madrid), Pastore(PSG) Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool) have the guile and creativeness to create while Mascherano (Barcelona) and Cambiasso (Inter) can provide the defensive cover for the likes of Burdisso (Roma) and Zabaleta (Man City).

Argentina must keep pace with leaders Uruguay and can ill afford another slip up at home alike against Bolivia in November. Too many home draws could mean all the difference in a tight qualifying group especially when the still have to visit the oxygen starved Andean nations.






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