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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Ecuador's road to the finals
Ecuador captain Alex Aguinaga celebrates the victory over Brazil
Aguinaga revelled in the win over Brazil
BBC Sport Online examines how South American minnows Ecuador qualified for their first World Cup finals.

Ecuador's opponents made long-winded excuses about the altitude in Quito, claiming the thin air was responsible for their collective defeats at the Atuahalpa Stadium.

But they failed to do justice to Ecuador's new-found reputation among South America's football thoroughbreds like Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Brazil.

And it was the four-time world champions, Brazil, who were Ecuador's most notable scalp during the mammoth Concembol qualifying group.

Qualifying campaign
W 2-0 Venezuela (h)
L 2-3 Brazil (a)
L 1-3 Paraguay (a)
W 2-1 Peru (a)
L 0-2 Argentina (a)
D 0-0 Colombia (h)
W 2-0 Bolivia (h)
L 0-4 Uruguay (a)
W 1-0 Chile (h)
W 2-1 Venezuela (a)
W 1-0 Brazil (h)
W 2-1 Paraguay (h)
W 2-1 Peru (a)
L 0-2 Argentina (a)
D 0-0 Colombia (a)
W 5-1 Bolivia (a)
D 1-1 Uruguay (h)
D 0-0 Chile (a)

Ecuador's euphoric public could barely contain their delight after an amazing 1-0 home victory against Brazil in March 2001, courtesy of Agustin Delgado's solitary goal.

"Yes, it is possible", sang the awestruck Quito crowd when referee Mexican referee Felipe Ramos Rizo blew up for full-time.

The Brazilians should have been prepared, this was the same side that had earlier scared them at the Morumbi Stadium, narrowly losing 3-2 in front of a hostile Sao Paolo crowd in April 2000.

Ecuador lost five of 18 matches during their campaign but coach Dario Hernan Gomez made sure they won the bankers against the likes of Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela.

Then came the "added bonus" - victories against Chile and Paraguay, two teams highly-regarded by South America's footballing cognoscenti.

The points soon added up and as Brazil and Uruguay continued to slip on several banana skins, so Ecuador's passage to the Far East began to look more concrete.

And it was finally guaranteed when Ivan Kaviedes equalised Nicolas Olivera's goal in Ecuador's 1-1 draw in Quito against Uruguay in November 2001.

The celebrations lasted for days after as a slightly disbelieving population of 13 million people realised their tiny nation is no longer the minnows of South America.

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