Ecuador achieved an important victory against Portugal as visitor, changing the world’s view on the potential of the tricolor soccer team, including FIFA’s.
The world soccer body echoes this and mentions that the Tri-color team aims to be, for the first time, in the top 10 world ranking of soccer teams, because of the good performances they have been demonstrated.
Ecuador currently ranks second in the South American World Cup Brazil 2014 and ranked 12th in the world ranking of selections.
Here FIFA’s publication on the Ecuadorian Soccer Team:
“The qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 just finished, Ecuador began working with one goal in mind: Brazil 2014. And it was no wonder, of course, after its historical classifications for Korea / Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, the South American team had accustomed to be present at the World Cup, and its absence in South African soil meant a step back.
To this purpose, the Ecuadorian Federation authorities in August 2010 put the team in the hands of Colombian Reinaldo Rueda, who had led Honduras to the last World Cup. At that time, Ecuador’s position in the FIFA / Coca Cola world ranking was 58, but fell to 72 the next month, edging and the 76 position, the same it has in june 1995.
Today, however, the picture is quite different. In one hand, halfway to qualify for Brazil 2014, the Tri-color has 17 points and remains second under Argentina by 3 points, but with five ahead of Venezuela, Uruguay and Chile, all rivals fighting for one of the four spots that will grant a direct pass for the qualifier finals.
On the other hand, the team rise on its position on the last edition of the World ranking moving to the 12th position. Thus, closer than ever to their access to the top 10, a select group in which t two other countries of the region, Argentina (3 °) and Colombia (5 °) await.
Far to pass unnoticed, this data was used by Rueda to motivate his squad. “The recognition in the ranks of FIFA was achieved by the players,” stated the coach through a press conference recently. “Now the best is coming, which is to defend it. We should not settle or be mediocre, because there are South American teams above us, and we can match this commitment. That is the challenge that lies ahead for us,” added the 55 years old coach.
That is perhaps one of the reasons why the Federation put together a friendly match against the mighty Portugal (7th in the rankings), and Ecuador lived up to the task: with goals from Antonio Valencia, Joao Pereira (owngoal) and Felipe Caicedo, the Tri achieved a historic victory of 3-2 (Cristiano Ronaldo, Helder Pstiga scored for the locals). The number of unbeaten matches increased to seven in Stage A. To find their last loss we must go back to June of last year, when Argentina won 4-0 in Buenos Aires.
The remarkable victory on Portuguese land not only allows Ecuador’s dream of another rise in the world rankings, but also with enthusiasm and confidence awaits the resumption of the South American qualifiers for Brazil 2014. While the TRI-color will have free the next date, on March 22 and, therefore, may lose its second place in the standings, four days later will receive Paraguay (35°) in Quito, where the Tri has won all five games, scored nine goals and conceding just one.
The team will face a red-and-white selection that, surprising the experts, runs in last place with just seven points, although five away from the group aspiring the playoffs. But none of this allows Rueda to overstep. “Paraguay has valuable players and a new coaching staff, so we cannot rest on our laurels. What we have achieved is important, but more important is that still are seven more rounds to qualify for the World Cup,” warned the coach.