July 27, 2021

The Copa América, a ‘cursed’ tournament for Ecuador? | Football | sports

Against Colombia the Tricolor reached 20 defeats in 29 debut games. He has 5 games without winning in the tournament. Negative numbers have been in the majority since 1939.

In either of the two formats in which the Copa América has been played, be it all against all or under the group system – in force since the 1975 edition – with classification to subsequent rounds until reaching a final, the continental championship of national teams. The oldest on the planet has traditionally choked on Ecuadorian soccer. Negative figures to verify that for the Selection the Conmebol contest is its nemesis, there are plenty.

And although the new generations assume that Ecuador’s goals, eliminations and disappointments in the Copa América only happened in the distant past, a period that some call ‘the pre-globalization era’, when ‘the national players did not have personality’, they say. they have also occurred in contemporary times.

For example, after the 2002 Japan-South Korea World Cup, which represented the debut of the Tricolor in these matches, and its subsequent appearances in Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014, in six versions of the Copa América (2004, 2007, 2011, 2015 , 2016, 2019) the national team was last in their group four times, penultimate in one and in the rest they went to the round (in 2016, after 19 years without success).

Javier Saviola (i) scored three goals against Ecuador in the 6-1 beating of Argentina in the 2004 Copa América in Peru. Photo: Archive

Few celebrations

The chapters to celebrate are scarce. The first victory, in 1949, served only for Ecuador to dodge the bottom of the table and be penultimate. As the venue for the Extraordinary Edition, in 1959, it was tied with the powerful Argentina at the Modelo stadium, but it was not enough to be on the podium and was once again penultimate. In 1963 the tie at 4 was held with the local Bolivia, in La Paz, but at the time of the summary the occupied box was one higher than the last. The exciting duel tied at 2 in Buenos Aires with Albiceleste in 1983 is not yet forgotten, but the result came when elimination was sentenced.

In 1993, for the third time as the host of the Copa América, Ecuador did something unprecedented: it won all the games in its key by beating Venezuela (6-1), the United States (2-0) and Uruguay (2-1). In the quarterfinals, they beat Paraguay (3-0). In the semifinals he could not beat Mexico, which won (2-0) at the height of Quito. And although it reached the best position in its history (fourth), it was not enough to get on the podium.

In Bolivia 1997 the National Team was the leader of the Group of Death, Group A, by leaving Argentina (0-0), Paraguay (2-0) and Chile (2-1) behind. In the quarterfinals Mexico and Ecuador equaled 1 and the Aztecs advanced on penalties. Never before or after did Ecuador end its participation in the Copa América undefeated (2 wins and 2 draws). The rest of the joys are due to the occasional isolated victory.

Four out of five pass

The participation of La Tri in the Brazil 2021 edition has just begun and its destination could be different from the usual one because, among other advantages, it shares its sector with Venezuela, decreased by 16 cases of COVID-19, and because it was resolved that of each key of five teams each, the first four advance to the other round. That is, the quality filter has no rigor. In Brazil 1989 and Chile 1991, each group was also made up of five competitors each, but unlike the Copa América of the pandemic, only the best two from each zone obtained their tickets.

20 losses in the premieres

Is the Copa América a cursed tournament for Ecuador? If not, ‘hit the stick’, says a football saying. The numbers are catastrophic. On Sunday, in Cuiabá, they lost to Colombia 1-0, which represents the twentieth defeat in 29 debut matches for the National Team in the tournament since 1939. They only won twice at the start: in 1989 (1-0 to Uruguay) and 1993 (6-1 to Venezuela). The rest are seven draws in the debut match.

As of 1975, it was decided to separate by groups the countries participating in the Copa América, which in Brazil 2021 already has 18 editions under that format. 46 years ago Ecuador shared key 3 with Colombia and Paraguay and ended up in the basement. Since that distant 1975 of 17 tournaments, not counting the one that is underway, the National Team only passed the round in 1993, 1997 and 2016. In the competitions organized so far in the 21st century, without taking into account the one that is in development, only once made it past the group stage (in the Copa América Centenario).

In the Copa América Centenario-2016 Ecuador overcame the group round after beating Haiti 4-0. Enner Valencia scored a double. Photo: Archive

Five games in a row without winning

Ecuador has five consecutive Copa América matches without winning. Their last victory was 4-0 over weak Haiti, in the group stage of 2016. Later, in that same championship, they lost 2-1 to the United States, the homeowner. In Brazil 2019 they fell against Uruguay (4-0), Chile (2-1) and tied with Japan (1-1). In Brazil 2021 the debut was a 1-0 loss to Colombia.

Ecuador, with Venezuela, shares the stigma of being the only Conmebol teams that have not won the Copa América. It has hosted the championship three times: 1947, 1959 and 1993. But of 17 home games, it won 5 (four of them in 1993), drew 3 and lost 9.

Scored, then and now

In addition, the most terrible win in the history of the Copa América was suffered by the Tricolor when they lost 12-0 with Argentina, in Uruguay 1942. And to confirm that the beatings were not exclusive to the era in which they were not classified for the World Cups, Ecuador received its worst punishment in three decades when it was beaten 6-1 by Argentina in the 2004 Peru Cup. The most recent shaking was suffered by Uruguay: 4-0 in 2019.

Is there a curse for Ecuador in the Copa América? (D)