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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Aguinaga hungry for goals
Ecuador captain Alex Aguinaga
Aguinaga is planning to set the tournament alight
Ecuador's captain Alex Aguinaga is determined to stamp his mark on the World Cup by scoring beautiful goals.

The 33-year-old playmaker is adamant that Ecuador can progress from their group against Italy, Croatia and Mexico.

And he intends to contribute to his country's successful first World Cup outing by "not only scoring goals, but scoring beautiful goals and seeing Ecuador move into the second round."

"I am among the few who believe that Ecuador may go beyond the first round," said the midfielder from Mexico's Necaxa club.

Open Quote
I hope to score other goals during the World Cup - perhaps the goal of the tournament
Close Quote
Alex Aguinaga

Aguinaga scored a stunning goal in the warm-up game against Japanese side Kyoto Purple Sanga on Sunday.

And he hoped it was just one of many in the next few weeks.

"It was indeed one of the best goals in my career," he said.

"And I hope to score others during the World Cup. Perhaps the goal of the tournament.

"I know that's difficult, but not impossible."

Ecuador's Colombian coach Hernan Gomez has warned followers not to expect too much from the debutants.

But Aguinaga sees it otherwise.

"I am prepared to work to make sure that Ecuador will not just make its debut, but make a debut that will be remembered," he said after a training session on Monday.

Ecuador were third in the South American World Cup series with a campaign that included a victory over four-time world champion Brazil.

Ecuador's first game in the tournament is against Italy in Sapporo on 3 June.

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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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