Ecuador is looking for certainties in the two friendly matches that it is preparing to play in Europe less than two months before the World Cup, coach Gustavo Alfaro said on Thursday.
La Tri will be tested against two teams from Asia qualified for the World Cup. The first matchup will be on Friday against Saudi Arabia, in Murcia, Spain, and then they will face Japan next Tuesday in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Alfaro is expected to maintain the base with which Ecuador achieved qualification for Qatar 2022.
The Ecuadorians will be protagonists of the tournament, measuring themselves against the host country on November 20.
“We have been looking for certainty, adding up after each training session, after each game,” Alfaro said Thursday at a press conference in Murcia. “We are seeking to reduce that margin of error, to base ourselves on certainties.”
“We want to get to the (debut) match with as few doubts as possible,” he added. “That if a doubt appears, let it be now when there is time to solve it.”
The one in Qatar will be the fourth World Cup for Ecuador in its history after participating in the 2002, 2006 and 2014 editions.
Alfaro alluded to the magnificent present of young Ecuadorian players who play for European clubs, such as the case of midfielder Moisés Caicedo and left-back Pervis Estupiñán, both with Brighton in the Premier League.
The Argentine helmsman emphasized that Ecuador is “fertile land” for European football to find Ecuadorian players for its squads, and the challenge of the national team is to try to make the best World Cup in history: “This is in the hands of the players We are facing a historic moment because these young people are doing things very well”.
Ecuador will also face the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A of the World Cup.
Enner Valencia, the leading scorer for the national team and who currently plays for the Turkish team Fenerbahçe, said that Saudi Arabia is a very difficult rival like all the classifieds “we believe they are similar to Qatar and it is a good test”.
The 32-year-old attacker pointed out that the World Cup is something “you have dreamed of since you were a child and being at the opening is exciting. We are excited to take that first step against Qatar”.
He was optimistic because, he said, he is having his best start to the season in Europe — he has scored eight goals in seven games in all competitions. He hopes that “this start is a harbinger of a good World Cup”, because now he arrives at this World Cup event “with more experience and maturity”.