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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Ecuador remain positive
Ecuador were outclassed by Italy in their first-ever World Cup fixture
Ecuador struggled to contain the confident Italians
Ecuador coach Hernan Dario Gomez admitted his team were not ready for their World Cup encounter with Italy - but said his team are looking forward to their remaining games.

In their first-ever World Cup match Ecuador conceded after just six minutes when Christian Vieri opened the scoring for Italy.

Open Quote
The players were very nervous and they were not quite ready
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Hernan Dario Gomez
The Inter Milan striker doubled Ecuador's deficit when he scored again after 27 minutes as Italy eased to a 2-0 win.

But Gomez was in philosophical mood after his players battled through the last 63 minutes without conceding.

"It was very difficult match, it's tough to come here to the World Cup and play Italy in your first game," said Gomez.

"The players were very nervous and they were not quite ready but we played pretty well in the second half and we are not discouraged.

"We did okay and we have the strength now to go on from this in the next two matches.

"Italy are a very strong team and probably one of the strongest in the World Cup."

Aguinaga blow

Ecuador captain and playmaker Alex Aguinaga was injured during Monday's World Cup Group G defeat by Italy at the Sapporo Dome.

Aguinaga sustained the injury to a muscle in his right leg in the first half of the 2-0 defeat and had to be replaced after the break by youngster Carlos Tenorio.

"Tomorrow I will see the doctos and the recovery period will begin," said Aguinaga.

But Ecuador's captain said he had no plans to retire from international football after the tournament.

"This won't be the end of the road for me - I am going to carry on playing football - it's a part of my life," said the 34-year-old.

Ecuador's next match is against Mexico in Miyagi on June 9.


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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3




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