Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Team Pages: Ecuador  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather


Click on a name for more detailed team information:

Argentina
Belgium
Brazil
Cameroon
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Rep of Ireland
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Tunisia
Turkey
USA
Uruguay

Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Gomez faces Aguinaga dilemma
Alex Aguinaga is not guaranteed a place in Ecuador's starting line-up
Aguinaga is anxious about his World Cup chances
BBC Sport Online's Tim Vickery

separator
space

Did Colombia persist too long with frizzy-haired playmaker Carlos Valderrama?

It is a question which is likely to haunt coach Hernan Dario Gomez as he plots Ecuador's first World Cup campaign.

Gomez was in charge of his native Colombia in the France 98 competition.

For the third sucessive World Cup the midfield was built around the subtle talents of Valderrama.

But four years ago, the playmaker was 37, and too old to do himself justice.

Open Quote
The brutal truth is that Aguinaga is fast approaching 34 - it is no longer so easy for him to get away from his marker
Close Quote
Tim Vickery

Now Gomez finds himself in a similar situation - with the added poignancy that this is Ecuador's debut at the top level.

It is the one and only chance that Alex Aguinaga will have to show his skills on a stage that he has deserved to tread for well over a decade.

In 1985, Aguinaga was chosen as the outstanding player in the South American Under-17 Championships.

Two years later he was playing senior international football, and in the 1989 Copa America he fired the first shot in Ecuador's battle to establish themselves as a serious force.

His goal brought victory against Uruguay, the reigning South American champions.

It was a win which set up Ecuador for the advances of the following decade - fourth place on home soil in the 1993 Copa America, and a respectable showing in qualification for France 98.

All through the 1990s, Aguinaga was Ecuador's most important player, and as the 2002 qualification campaign began the team was built around him.

The midfield adopted the diamond formation, with Aguinaga at the cutting edge.

Colombia midfielder Carlos Valderrama
Valderrama's poor form in France may affect Gomez's decision

But an awful performance in the 4-0 defeat away to Uruguay forced coach Gomez into a rethink.

The diamond was ditched as Gomez went for extra spadework.

Two defensive midfielders protected the centre of the pitch, with the creative midfielders pushed wider.

At a stroke, Aguinaga's importance was reduced.

Hit by injuries, the veteran played little part in the triumphant second half of Ecuador's qualification campaign.

The last nine games contained just one defeat, but Aguinaga was on the field for only 25% of the time.

The brutal truth is that Aguinaga is fast approaching 34. It is no longer so easy for him to get away from his marker and use his magnificent range of passing skills.

His place in the starting line-up is no longer assured.

Open Quote
If there is any justice then the gods of football will let Alex Aguinaga have his moment on the fields of Japan
Close Quote
Tim Vickery

But even if he is not on the field for 90 minutes of every game, it would be foolish to bet against Aguinaga making an impact on Ecuador's campaign.

In the vital qualifier at home to Uruguay he showed that even in small doses he can still make the difference.

Needing a draw to seal their World Cup place, Ecuador were a goal down and starting to panic.

It was a moment when class told. Off the bench came Aguinaga. He took up a position on the left of midfield, and suddenly striker Kaviedes had a supply line.

It was Aguinaga who conjured the goal that sent Ecuador to the World Cup. His shrewd cross took out the Uruguay defence, and Kaviedes' header did the rest.

Supersub or starter? Gomez must decide. But either way, if there is any justice then the gods of football will let Alex Aguinaga have his moment on the fields of Japan.

INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
ECUADOR
 TEAMS
 ECUADOR
Full coverage:
News and
features
Lineker's verdict
Statistics pages
World Cup so far
Have Your Say
BBCMundo.com
 SQUAD PROFILES
 RESULTS/REPORTS

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 BBC SPORT BULLETINS
 OUR BEST AUDIO
More Audio/Video




© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy