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| 10/19/2009 12:00:00 AM

Lessons to learn for Colombia & Ecuador

Oct 19--World Cup qualification in South America came to a close with only one change from the previous two campaigns. Brazil, Paraguay and, in the end, Argentina made it through once again, while Uruguay claimed fifth spot, the play-off position, for the third time running. The sole modification is that Chile have qualified instead of Ecuador.

This brings to a halt - we shall find out if only temporarily - the rise of teams from the north of continent. Colombia made it to the World Cups of 1990, '94 and '98, and Ecuador were at the last two. This time they have missed out, and since the spotlight will be off them for a while, now would seem to be an appropriate moment to have a look at their progress.

In the case of Ecuador, that progress has been immense. There were some depressing scenes just over a week ago after they suffered a last-minute defeat at home to Uruguay. As the players left the pitch they were abused by some of the crowd in Quito.

Supporters everywhere can have short memories, and can be astonishingly quick to take success for granted. It was only 20 years ago that Ecuador were giving signs that they were not merely making up the numbers.

In such a short space it is nothing short of extraordinary that they have been to two World Cups, and performed with honour in both - but problems are now building up.
 
Read more here.
 
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