Ecuador don’t go into this Summer’s World Cup as one of the pre tournament favourites but one aim they will have is to make this the best World Cup in their limited history.
The South American side chose not to enter the first three World Cups in Uruguay, Italy and France while the 1942 and 1946 World Cups were cancelled due to the second World War.
This meant that the 1950 World Cup would be the first Ecuador would compete in in their history. Or it would have been, if Ecuador didn’t withdraw from the tournament.
Ecuador had to wait 52 years before they would grace the World Cup, 2002 was finally their year.
The tournament, held in two countries for the first time ever or since (Japan and South Korea), was won by Brazil. Ecuador were drawn into Group G with Mexico, Italy and Croatia.
Their first ever game at a World Cup wasn’t an inspiring one, losing to Italy 2-0 with Christian Vieri grabbing a brace in Sapporo. Ecuador would lose their second game too, this time to Mexico 2-1. Although the result wasn’t what they wanted, Ecuador were proud that they scored their first ever goal at a World Cup finals. Agustin Delgado (at Southampton at the time) giving the Yellows the lead after just five minutes.
La Tri took confidence from that and grabbed their first ever World Cup win in their final game, a 1-0 win over Croatia. Edison Mendez scoring the winner three minutes after the half time break.
Ecuador crashed out their group, finishing bottom, but they would have better success four years later, in Germany.
They were drawn into Group A with the World Cup holders Germany, Costa Rica and Poland and it was the latter who they faced first.
Carlos Tenorio and Delgado scored as Ecuador ran out 0-2 winners over Poland in Gelsenkirchen. Their second game would secure their place in the last 16, making Germany ’06 their finest ever performance at a World Cup.
A comfortable 3-0 win over Costa Rica secured another three points for the South Americans with Tenorio and Delgado netting again before Ivan Kaviedes made it three.
Two wins in two wins for them and Germany meant that both teams had already qualified for the next round with one game to spare. A “winner takes all clash” to decide the group winner ended in a comfortable 0-3 win to Germany. A Miroslav Klose double and Lukas Podolski providing the goals.
Ecuador finished runners up in their group which meant their last 16 tie would be against the Group B winners, England.
It would be England who would progress to the Quarter Finals however thanks to a trademark David Beckham free kick on the hour mark to send Ecuador home.
The Yellows didn’t qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa so this Summer’s World Cup in Brazil will be just their third appearance at a World Cup finals.
They will be hoping that home continent advantage will be a boost to them as they hope to qualify from their group of France, Switzerland and Honduras to go at least one better than their World Cup best performance of the last 16.