Ecuador possible starting lineup for game 1 of the group stage vs Qatar
How will the South American side line up in the tournament’s inaugural match?
Ecuador have the honour of featuring in this year’s tournament curtain raiser against the host nation, Qatar, at the Al Bayt stadium. It will be their fourth time at a World Cup, the last one being Brazil 2014. Gustavo Alfaro’s side have been resolute without being very inspiring in recent games, and a 0-0 draw with Iraq in their final preparation match had some fans worried about their capacity to score goals.
Ecuador were the last team at the World Cup to release their squad list, with question marks being raised over the inclusion of right-back Byron Castillo, who was under investigation regarding his birth documentation. He limped off injured in the 31st minute during the friendly with Iran.
Premier League influence in Ecuador
Coach Gustavo Alfaro made significant changes to his side in their last game as the team did not have a full squad due to club commitments. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, for example, did not feature. Caicedo has had an excellent season so far in the Premier League, shining for Brighton under both Graham Potter and now Roberto De Zerbi and many are backing Caicedo to have a breakthrough tournament in Qatar.
Brighton have a trio of Ecuadorian players in the squad for the World Cup. Alongside Caicedo, Jeremy Sarmiento and Pervis Estupiñán were called up to the side. Estupiñán in particular has shown fantastic form in his first season in England and has adapted superbly to the league, immediately becoming a key part of Brighton in both attack and defence.
In terms of covering the absence of Castillo, Alfaro can go with one of two options: Angelo Preciado or Robert Arboleda. As far as the other players in his starting XI go, unless the manager pulls a surprise move, his opening line-up should look as follows: