Finishing second in Group B, Ecuador bounced back well from their opening day defeat at the hands of Venezuela. Still, for a team desperate for possession and control under coach Felix Sanchez, a 0-0 draw with Mexico was not the most reliable route.

In a game littered with technical errors and lapses in concentration, La Tri also struggled with decision-making in the final third, with Enner Valencia notably dragging a shot wide on a counter-attack in the dying moments.

“We played a final to qualify and because of that we had to take possession of the ball,” Sanchez summed up after the game. “We suffered, but I have to congratulate the players for showing that character.”

After all, Ecuador is a side built on strong defensive foundations, enjoying a veritable golden generation in the backbone of the team. Defenders Piero Hancapi and Willian Picchu are both successful defensive players, while Chelsea’s Moises Caicido is technically skilled and strong without the ball, capable of turning any midfield battle in his team’s favour.

They won’t go anywhere near the favorites in the quarter-finals with Argentina today, but they have the ability to make it a tough, potentially dangerous game.

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