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Ecuador seeking best ever World Cup showing: Alfaro

Doha, Nov 19 (IANS) Ecuador manager Gustavo Alfaro has urged his players to dare to be different as they aim to reach the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in Qatar.

Ecuador have never finished in the top eight at the football’s showpiece event, with their best performance coming in 2006 when they were eliminated in the last 16, reports Xinhua.

“I asked my players what they want,” the coach told reporters on Friday. “Do they just want to participate in the World Cup or do they want to have the best World Cup in Ecuador’s history? I said that if they just want to participate, I won’t waste my time. I’ll leave.”

Alfaro, who replaced Jordi Cruyff as Ecuador boss in August 2020, added: “I told them: ‘If you want to have (Ecuador’s) best ever World Cup, we have to be prepared to do things differently.”

The former Boca Juniors manager did not reveal what the “different” elements could entail but he is likely seeking to develop a game plan that balances attacking flair with defensive cohesion.

Ecuador earned a direct berth in Qatar by finishing fourth in the South American qualifying tournament, behind Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Alfaro’s men will begin their campaign against hosts Qatar on Sunday before also meeting the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.

–IANS

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