Caicedo aims for World Cup semi-final spot with Ecuador
Oct 14 (Reuters) – Ecuador could spring a surprise by winning the World Cup in Qatar and would count their campaign successful if they reach the semi-finals, midfielder Moises Caicedo has said.
Ecuador reached their fourth World Cup in Qatar after failing to qualify for Russia four years ago, and the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder played a key role in their CONMEBOL qualifying campaign, with goals against Uruguay and Chile.
“Ecuador, of course, is a candidate to win the World Cup,” Caicedo told Star Plus. “We are a very good team. We’ll fight until the end.
“A good World Cup for Ecuador would be to reach the semi-finals. My team mates and I want to leave Ecuador’s name high up.”
Ecuador’s best result at the tournament came in Germany in 2006 when they were eliminated by England in the last 16 — the only time they have reached the knockout stages.
Ecuador finished fourth in South American qualifying behind Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, but will arrive in Qatar with their confidence high.
“We needed to believe. We are very good, young players. We just needed to have more confidence in ourselves. There’s a lot of talent in Ecuador,” Caicedo added.
The 20-year-old has fond memories of watching Ecuador’s last appearance at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 from his hometown of Santo Domingo.
“I watched with my people from the neighbourhood,” he said. “We took a friend’s TV to the sidewalk. I didn’t have cable TV in my house, and we met in the street to watch the games.
“(Now) they take out the TV to see me. They send me photos. When I scored against Chile, everyone was gathered watching my goal. That gave me immense joy.”
Ecuador open their World Cup campaign against hosts Qatar on Nov. 20. The Netherlands and Senegal are the other teams in Group A.
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Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City Editing by Christian Radnedge
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