After getting off to a strong start on the path to Russia 2018, Ecuador collapsed under the weight of its own internal issues. After that, things got much worse. Bringing back Hernan Dario Gomez, who guided them to their World Cup debut in 2002, was not successful, and the glamorous choice of Jordi Cruyff turned out to be a farce when the Dutchman quit before taking command of a single game during the tournament. Gustavo Alfaro, a relatively unknown coach from Argentina, was brought in with very little time left before the Qatar qualifications, and public expectations were already rather low.

On the other hand, things couldn’t have gone much better than they did. It has become clear that Alfaro is an excellent choice, and he has the courage to put his faith in more recent outcomes of Ecuador’s fascinating youth development efforts. He has put together a group that is quick, physically robust, and has signs of skill here and there. They qualified for the World Cup with a round to spare, and Brazil’s head coach, Tite, believes they might be one of the tournament’s unexpected participants.


Their opponents should do their best to stop the runs that Pervis Estupinan makes from left back. This will give Enner Valencia the opportunity to cut inside and connect with Moises Caicedo. Felix Torres, who was just added to the team, has been instrumental in helping to strengthen the defense.

Gustavo Alfaro is a coach who projects an air of seriousness and has had his best results with less talented teams. It fits in nicely with Ecuador’s counter-attacking approach to the game.


Moisés Caicedo

As a teen, Alfaro brought him in and was immediately rewarded. Controls the midfield, wins the ball back, and keeps the game flowing smoothly.