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Ecuador Squad Revealed for World Cup 2022 in Qatar

Enner Valancia has been named in the Ecuador squad for World Cup 2022 in Qatar

Ecuador will be the first nation to play a match in 2022’s World Cup as they face off against host nation Qatar on Sunday, November 20. 

Ecuador were the  last nation to submit its 26-man squad for the tournament, with La Tri’s first game less than a week away.

Ecuador Squad Unveiled for World Cup in Qatar

Another Castillo Surprise

Surprisingly, Byron Castillo, the polemic name that almost kept Ecuador out of the World Cup for apparent document irregularities, won’t be on the plane to Qatar. 

In a bittersweet hearing earlier this month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently deemed Castillo an Ecuadorean national and ruled that Ecuador could play in the 2022 World Cup after dismissing a claim by Chile that he had been ineligible to play during qualifiers. 

However, CAS also decided to punish the Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol (FEF) with a three-point deduction for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (£88,883) for the “use of a document containing false information.”

It seems this is reason enough for Argentinian Head Coach Gustavo Alfaro and the FEF to decide the defender’s inclusion in the Ecuador squad to be too risky. 

This certainly crushed Castillo. Ecuador had seemed to clear their legal hurdles around the defender’s inclusion, and he featured for them 13 times during qualifying.

Who Else Missed Out?

Other notable exclusions include Leonardo Campana, who just came off an 11-goal season with Inter Miami CF. The forward, who is on loan from Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers, had featured several times for Ecuador in the successful World Cup qualifying cycle but could not find the goal regularly for La Tri

Attacking midfielder Junior Sornoza will also feel devastated at being left out, despite not featuring as regularly as Campana in CONMEBOL qualifiers. The Independiente del Valle star is a crucial figure in the side that has crowned themselves Copa Sudamericana champions twice in four years, Ecuadorian Cup champions, Ecuadorian Serie A champions for the first time in club history, and Copa Libertadores Runners-up.

For an Ecuadorian National Team worryingly short on goals recently, with just one goal from open-play in five friendlies over the last six months (with several penalty misses), Alfaro will hope he doesn’t rue leaving Sornoza’s creativity and eye for goal back in Ecuador.

Alfaro Makes the Call

When speaking at a press conference, Alfaro stated “I’m here to give opportunities… I said the doors of the national team are open as I called players from 18 to 38 years old and all got their place”.  

Many took that to mean Alfaro would welcome back Campana or give Sornoza a chance to impress and earn his spot in La Tri’s fold. Instead, the manager elected to call up a few surprises.

Royal Antwerp’s William Pacho, a player so new to La Tri that he hasn’t even made it onto the national team’s official website, will seemingly make his Ecuador debut at the World Cup. The 21-year-old Pacho will deputize at center back due to Castillo’s misfortune. This means Seattle Sounders defender Xavier Arreaga will most likely be Ecuador’s backup right back in place of Castillo. 

Serie B Imbabura Forward Kevin Rodríguez was another shock inclusion in the squad, as the forward made his national team debut recently on Saturday, November 12, after coming on as a substitute in the 63 minute of Ecuador’s final preparation match against Iraq. 

The 22-year-old Rodríguez will join Captain Enner Valencia as two of the four forwards available and Valencia will need to have a massive tournament leading the line for Ecuador for the nation to be successful. Rodríguez will also need to justify his inclusion by making an impact in the limited minutes he could get.

The Captain and the Kids

Alfaro also said to press: “I know these players have a lot of commitment… Now I have to analyze if they seize those opportunities in order to provide what the team needs” .

Besides his obvious gambles making the most of their chances, the manager probably meant for this message to land at Valencia’s feet and also his young core of starlets that make up the bedrock of this squad. As captain, Valencia will be expected to lead the team both on the pitch with goals and off the pitch with his experience. 

While the core of Pervis Estupiñán, Piero Hincapié, Gonzalo Plata, and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moisés Caicedo could be the spark that galvanizes Ecuador into the second round of the World Cup. If this core can “seize those opportunities,” Ecuador’s World Cup roster could leave its mark on the tournament. 

The 26 players chosen to represent Ecuador can start to put the world on notice with a strong performance against the hosts on Sunday.

Full Ecuador Squad for World Cup 2022:

Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez (Liga de Quito), Hernan Galindez (Aucas), Moises Ramirez (Independiente del Valle).

Defenders: Pervis Estupinan (Brighton & Hove Albion), Angelo Preciado (Gent), Piero Hincapie (Bayer Leverkusen), Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders), Diego Palacios (Los Angeles FC), Jackson Porozo (Troyes), Robert Arboleda (Sao Paulo), Felix Torres (Santos Laguna), William Pacho (Royal Antwerp FC).

Midfielders: Moises Caicedo (Brighton), Jose Cifuentes (Los Angeles FC), Alan Franco (Talleres), Jhegson Mendez (Los Angeles FC), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg), Gonzalo Plata (Valladolid), Angel Mena (Leon), Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna), Romario Ibarra (Pachuca), Jeremy Sarmiento (Brighton)

Strikers: Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce), Michael Estrada (Cruz Azul), Djorkaeff Reasco (Newell’s Old Boys), Kevin Rodriguez (Imbabura SC).



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