DOHA ( Associated Press) – How do you view Ecuador facing Qatar in their World Cup opener?
For coach Gustavo Alfaro, the hosts favor because he had more time to prepare for the commitment. He hopes to compensate for this with the mental strength of his leaders.
“Qatar’s bias is that they have been preparing for this match for 12 years,” said Argentina’s strategist at a press conference in reference to the choice of Qatar as the venue for the 2010 tournament. “We have three days to prepare for this match and I am satisfied”.
The South American team will animate the opening of Group A, the first World Cup hosted in the Middle East, at Doha’s Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, which also includes the Netherlands and Senegal.
Alfaro, who a few days earlier had expressed regret that Ecuador was not consulted when FIFA decided to move the opening match a day earlier, commented that he had the full squad only three days before the commitment.
Like his colleagues from other teams, Alfaro had to deal with an unprecedented preparation due to the fact that European leagues – where 73% of players of different nationalities arrive in Qatar – were only interrupted last weekend.
The hosts, on the other hand, ended their league months early so that their players – all from local football – could focus solely on the World Cup.
Alfaro believed his team could rebound from the loss because of his “perseverance”.
“This squad, despite their young age and lack of experience, has always had the quality of not making themselves suffer. Accept things as they are…recognizing that we are the heroes of our own history. Team Forward Ready to face the upcoming challenge”, appreciated the coach.
In the fourth World Cup in its history and first time since 2014, Ecuador appears in the tournament as the third team with the lowest average age, 25 years and six months.
Alfaro listed a series of problems facing the South American national team, due to the surprise resignation of Jordi Cruyff without making his debut since his assumption a few days before the start of the tie and the recent sacking of defender Biron Castillo. Due to irregular processing of Ecuadorian nationality which generated disputes with Chile and Peru.
“For me Byron should be here. I am a soccer coach, I am not a lawyer. I respect the decision of the federation. There are issues that are not clear, we need to go to the TAS (Tribunal de Arbitraje Deportivo) to understand the decision.” The reasons must wait,” admitted Alfaro.
The Chileans and Peruvians demanded that Ecuador be expelled from the tournament for having an unfair alignment.
The litigation ended before TAS, which confirmed Ecuador’s participation a few days earlier. But the court’s judges also sided with Chile and Peru, noting that Castillo was born in Colombia and that “false information” about his date and place of birth was used to obtain an Ecuadorian passport.
Faced with the risk of new claims, the Ecuadorian Federation decided not to include Castillo in the World Cup roster.
“If only they had seen Byron’s pain, the squad’s pain. For us it is a flag, it is another reason. Tomorrow (on Saturday) Byrne is going to go on the pitch with us”, Alfaro moved forward in a figurative sense. The coach did not confirm the formation.
After an eight-year absence, La Trie would like to be the first hangman to host the World Cup.
A win would put the Ecuadorian team well-placed in a group in which the Netherlands are set to finish first. The loss of Sadio Mane in Senegal to injury raises Ecuador’s chances of securing a second ticket to the round of 16, a stage they reached for the first time in Germany 2006.
“If I want the legs to respond, first I have to work on the head,” Alfaro said. “We have had a very close communication with the psychologist, it has strengthened us as a group. It has made us understand this from different places. They can beat us as a team, but I assure you I am sure that as a group no one will be able to beat us.