Ecuador World Cup squad 2022: Félix Torres, Moisés Caicedo, Sebas Méndez and more

Ecuador shocked South America by claiming an automatic qualification spot for Qatar   (Getty Images)
Ecuador shocked South America by claiming an automatic qualification spot for Qatar (Getty Images)

Ecuador did not just earn their qualification for the World Cup once. They did so twice: first on the pitch by claiming a surprise automatic berth in the dogfight of the South America qualifiers, and then again in the courtroom as they saw off a legal challenge from Chile, who contested the birth status of the right back Byron Castillo. At least, so we think: Chile have taken their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport where it remained with less than a month to go until the World Cup.

The whole affair has rather clouded what was an impressive qualifying campaign from Ecuador, and created significant uncertainty for La Tri. Chile, who along with Colombia looked on in envy as Ecuador joined Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in the top four, insisted that Castillo, the right back who played in eight qualification games, was actually Colombian and was not eligible to play in eight of Ecuador’s group games.

In any case, Ecuador qualified for the World Cup when, on paper, they should have stood no chance. According to the Fifa rankings, they were the second lowest ranked side of the 10 South American countries when their campaign began. Led by the Argentine manager Gustavo Alfaro, they took points off both Brazil and Argentina at home, thrashed Colombia 6-1 and beat Chile in Santiago to take a huge step towards Qatar - even if the biggest battle they had to win came after the World Cup draw was made in April and in the courtrooms.

Ecuador stunned Chile and Colombia to qualify for Qatar (Getty Images)
Ecuador stunned Chile and Colombia to qualify for Qatar (Getty Images)

This is Ecuador’s fourth World Cup appearance - having missed out on Russia last time out but qualifying for three of the previous four tournaments. They’ve been handed a kind group. It would be a surprise to see them beat either the Netherlands or Senegal to advance but they can take heart in the fact that neither are in the top tier of World Cup contenders, and an upset is not out of the question for a team who have thrived as the underdog. The spotlight will be on them as they play in the opening game of the tournament against Qatar, where Ecuador will hope to do their talking on the pitch once again.

Here is everything you need to know:

Group fixtures (all times GMT)

Sunday 20 November: Qatar vs Ecuador – 16:00

Friday 25 November: Netherlands vs Ecuador – 16:00

Tuesday 29 November: Ecuador vs Senegal – 15:00

Confirmed squad

Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito), Hernan Galindez (Aucas), Moises Ramirez (Independiente)

Defenders: Robert Arboleda (Sao Paulo) Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders), Bryon Castillo (Leon), Pervis Estunpinan (Brighton), Piero Hincapie (Bayer Leverkusen), Angelo Preciado (Genk), Jackson Porozo (Troyes), Felix Torres (Santos Laguna)

Midfielders: Nilsen Angulo (Anderlecht), Moises Caicedo (Brighton), Jose Cifuentes (Los Angeles FC), Alan Franco (Talleres), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg), Romario Ibarra (Pachuca), Angel Mena (Leon), Jhegson Mendez (Los Angeles FC) Gonzalo Plata (Valladolid), Jeremy Sarmiento (Brighton)

Forwards: Michael Estrada (Cruz Azul), Ayrton Preciado (Santos Laguna), Djorkaeff Reasco (Newell’s Old Boys), Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce)

Ones to watch

Star – Moises Caicedo: The Brighton midfielder has already been one of the breakout talents of the Premier League season but now the World Cup will allow the 20-year-old to display his ferocious industry on a wider stage. Already Ecaudor’s best and most important player despite his age, Caicedo was central to Brighton’s excellent start to the season under Graham Potter and was immediately linked with a move to Manchester United after starring in their 2-1 win at Old Trafford on the opening weekend. Caicedo does a superb job of linking defence and attack in an all-action role, and could well be the next Brighton player to move on for a sizable transfer fee. Strong performances at the World Cup for Ecuador, where he takes on even more responsibility, will add to that too.

Caicedo is Ecuador’s most important player at just 20 years old (Getty Images)
Caicedo is Ecuador’s most important player at just 20 years old (Getty Images)

Breakout talent – Piero Hincapie: Like Caicedo, the 20-year-old Hincapie is another product of Independiente’s impressive academy system who is now making his mark in Europe. Already a regular starter for Bayer Leverkusen from the age of 19, Hincapie is an aggressive, front-footed centre-back who is suited to playing on the left side of the defence. His game has drawn comparisons to Tottenham’s Argentina defender Cristian Romero and indeed Hincapie was linked with both Arsenal and Spurs this summer, but discipline is a concern. Hincapie has been sent off for picking up a second yellow card twice already in the Bundesliga this season.

Odds to win the World Cup (taken from Betfair)



It would be foolish to write off Ecuador given their results in the South American qualifiers and they will relish being the underdogs again when they face the Netherlands and Senegal. The order of their matches is interesting, given they could put pressure on one of the Netherlands or Senegal if they beat Qatar and claim an opening win. It could also allow La Tri to play for draws, but they will need more than that if they are to progress. Knocked out in the group stages.