Ecuador’s gradual emergence as a genuine South American contender was confirmed with qualification for Brazil 2014; their third FIFA World Cup appearance over the past 12 years. The achievement marks a notable ascent, with Ecuador’s maiden FIFA World Cup finals coming as late as in 2002. For Brazil 2014 a relatively kind Final Draw has boosted hopes that they can at least match the Round-of-16 appearance from Germany 2006.

But coach Reinaldo Rueda is not one to underestimate hi opponents. “It’ll be a very challenging group,” he said. Yet the Colombian may fancy his chances against Honduras, the side he managed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. “That’s football, and that’s life!” he said in regard to the twist of fate. Back home, though, Ecuadorian supporters are inevitably more excited about the clash with perennial superpower France.

Facing the French, Rueda is likely to ditch his usual attacking approach for a more counter-attacking strategy. His side will still provide plenty of excitement with their clever, quick wingers Jefferson Montero and Renato Ibarra, who will provide support to powerful forward Felipe Caicedo. The side’s top goalscorer in qualifying with seven goals in nine games, Caicedo has an excellent relationship with Antonio Valencia, whose central deployment at international level contracts with his wide role at Manchester United FC.

COACH>>

REINALDO RUEDA

The tactician is known as ‘professor Reinaldo Rueda’ because of his degree in sports science. He will become the third coach – and the third Colombian – to lead Ecuador at the FIFA World Cup finals. He was in charge of Honduras at South Africa 2010.

Fixtures Group E

Switzerland
Brasilia 16 June 2014

Honduras
Curitiba 21 June 2014

France
Rio de Janeiro 26 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 2

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Did not qualify

Best performance
Round of 16, 2006