Preview: Ecuador improved it's world rankings by qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, and playing reasonably well.  Many observers, however, are still dubious about the team because of their home field advantage.  You see, Ecuador plays it's home matches in capital Quito, at an altitude of almost 3000 meters above sea level, and the results are startling.  In their away games the Ecuador side recorded all 6 of their losses, drawing 2 and winning one game.  Aided by the loud crowds, and purportedly by the thin air, Ecuador drew twice and won 7 matches, including victories over Argentina and Brazil.  Edison Mendez is undisputedly the star of the team, a complete player who can run, pass, shoot from long distance, and defend capably.

Result: In 2006 Ecuador showed that it doesn't have to rely on home field advantage to succeed in international play.  A surprise win over Poland, and a convincing drubbing of Costa Rica earned Ecuador it's first ever playoff berth in the World Cup.

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