Ecuador are making their fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance at Chile 2015, having failed only once to progress beyond the group phase in their three previous visits, at Canada 1987. In hosting the world finals in the age category in 1995 they reached the last eight, their best performance to date. The last time they graced the competition was at Mexico 2011, where they advanced to the last 16 before going out to Brazil.
Ecuador won more points than any other side at the 2015 South American U-17 Championship, amassing 17 in total, one more than champions Brazil. They also boasted the best goal difference: +8, well clear of Argentina’s +5. Wins over Argentina, Bolivia and Chile helped them to second place in their first-round group, where they also lost to Uruguay, a reverse they avenged in the final six-team round. Beaten only by Brazil in that final phase, the Ecuadorians made sure of their place in Chile with a 2-1 defeat of Colombia in their penultimate match.
Coach Jose Javier Rodriguez was the man in charge when Ecuador reached the Round of 16 at Mexico 2011, and his experience will be vital to their chances at Chile 2015, as will their ability to give as good as they get against quality opposition. Delighted with his charges’ performance in the qualifiers in Paraguay, Rodriguez is determined to see them kick on against the world’s best: “Qualifying for the finals is only the start. I want them to savour the moment and celebrate because that’s what they deserve, but I also want them to be alert and to look for more.”