QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador’s squad for the World Cup finals is likely to comprise the following 23 players:
Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito) Age 27; 18 caps. His above average 1.93 metres height for an Ecuadorean singled him out as a potential goalkeeper from an early age. Helped LDU, his only club, win Ecuador’s first Libertadores Cup in 2008 and Copa Sudamericana in 2009. From an extremely poor background, as a boy he worked on a farm, as a waiter, bus ticket conductor and house painter to help his mother.
Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC) Age 28; 22 caps. Stands out for his leadership of the defence from the back and confidence he gives the back four, but lost his starting place to Dominguez due to injuries.
Adrian Bone (El Nacional) Age 25; 3 caps. Nicknamed “Gato” (The Cat) for his agility, he began his career at Aucas and is now on loan at El Nacional from leading side Deportivo Quito.
Gabriel Achilier (Emelec) Age 29; 20 caps. Comes from a footballing family with his father, known as “El Diablo” (The Devil), and uncle also playing in central defence for Emelec in the port city of Guayaquil, but doesn’t like to be compared with them. Loves extreme sports but doesn’t practice them.
Jorge Guagua (Emelec) Age 32; 56 caps. Made his debut in 2001 during the qualifiers for the 2002 finals, to which Ecuador went for the first time, he also played at the 2006 tournament. Named himself “El Patron” (The Boss) because he considers he is the best in his centre back position to lead the defence, not for any known affinity with rock star Bruce Springsteen. Has played in Argentina for Colon and Mexico for Atlante.
Frickson Erazo (Flamengo) Age 26; 34 caps. A tactically sound player who has impressed European clubs but has yet to leave South America, moving to Brazil this year. Nicknamed himself “El Elegante” (The Elegant One) after carrying out a Twitter survey with his followers supporting his decision because of his good marking on the pitch and talking and dressing off it.
Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona SC) Age 26; 35 caps. Full back or winger who emerged at Ecuador’s biggest club Barcelona in Guayaquil and played most of the qualifiers for the Brazil finals. Nicknamed “Hormiga” (The Ant) since he was a boy.
Walter Ayovi (Pachuca) Age 34; 88 caps. A left back or wing back who was in the squad but did not play at the 2002 World Cup and missed out on the 2006 finals, but played in all 16 qualifiers for this year’s finals. Joined his current Mexican club from Monterrey, with whom he won three straight CONCACAF Champions league titles, last year. Had a spell at Al-Wasl in the UAE in 2004-05. Has scored eight goals for Ecuador.
Oscar Bagui (Emelec) Age 31; 20 caps. Began his career in Argentina with lower league sides Atletico Argentino and Deportivo Riestra before returning home in 2003 and made his Ecuador debut in 2005. Played for Chile’s Universidad Catolica in 2010-11.
Leonel Ramirez (Fortuna Duesseldorf) Age 19; 2 caps. Left back who is youngest member of the squad but has already gained European experience, joining his German club last year from Independiente Jose Teran (now Independiente del Valle).
Segundo Castillo (Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabia) Age 32; 79 caps. Defensive midfielder who has been a regular part of the team for nearly a decade and played in the 2006 World Cup. Well-travelled, having played for Red Star Belgrade, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, plus Mexican sides Pachuca and Puebla.
Cristian Noboa (Dynamo Moscow) Age 29; 42 caps. Fulfilled a boyhood dream by qualifying for the World Cup. A vital cog at the heart of the midfield providing a plentiful supply of passes for the players on the flanks. Has spent most of his career in Russia, firstly with Rubin Kazan and since 2012 with Dynamo.
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) Age 28; 67 caps. Ecuador’s best known player thanks to his performances for Manchester United since 2009. Born in the Amazonian province of Sucumbios, he stands out on the wing with his pace, tactical obedience and scoring ability. Runs the Antonio Valencia foundation to fight against child labour, violence and drugs. As a child, he helped his mother sell drinks outside a local stadium and searched for empty bottles which his father sold for recycling. Although he plays on the wing for his club, he began as a central midfielder.
Luis Fernando Saritama (Barcelona SC) Age 30; 48 caps. Attacking midfielder who made his international debut in 2002 and has played in three World Cup qualifying campaigns and the 2006 finals. Has returned home to play in Ecuador after spells in Peru and Mexico.
Edison Mendez (Independiente Santa Fe) Age 35; 108 caps. The squad’s most experienced player, he has played in both Ecuador’s previous World Cup appearances in 2002 and 2006, and scored their first-ever World Cup goal in the 1-0 win over Croatia in 2002. Was also the first Ecuadorean player to score a goal in the Champions League while playing for PSV Eindhoven in 2007. Briefly quit the national team in 2008 but was quickly persuaded to return. Raised at Deportivo Quito, he has played for clubs in Mexico, the Netherlands and Brazil.
Fernando Gaibor (Emelec) Age 22; 2 caps. Central midfielder with an excellent range of passing who is regarded as one of Ecuador’s hopes for the future. Raised at Emelec, who he joined in 2007 and where he won the national championship last season.
Renato Ibarra (Vitesse Arnhem) Age 23; 16 caps. Winger who has already been compared to Antonio Valencia, he made his professional debut with El Nacional and joined Vitesse in 2011 after impressing at the under-20 World Championship that year.
Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul) Age 24; 27 caps. Right-sided midfielder. Began his career with Tecnico Universitario, then Emelec before moving abroad to join Morelia in Mexico. On the fringe of the squad.
Jefferson Montero (Morelia) Age 24; 37 Caps. Raised in a small town on the coast where he began playing football, against older and bigger opponents who he outwitted with his speed and technique. Has since transformed into a hugely skilled winger, almost impossible to play against on his best days and arguably more talented than Valencia. His club career has taken a roundabout route leading him to Mexico via Spanish clubs Villarreal, Levante and Real Betis.
Felipe Caicedo (Al-Jazira, UAE) Age 25; 47 Caps. Born in Guayaquil, he signed for Swiss club Basel as a 16-year-old and then moved to Manchester City where he was billed as a great South American prospect. He has not quite lived up to that early promise and his club career has been unsettled. He is still likely to be the first-choice centre forward in Brazil and has nevertheless scored some vital goals for his country. Sometimes known as “Felipao” after Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Enner Valencia (Pachuca) Age 24; 7 caps. Has emerged as a late contender for a place in the team after an excellent season with Pachuca in Mexico. Raised in the coastal province of Esmeraldas, he helped round up cows as a boy and played football in his spare time. Began his professional career at Emelec.
Fidel Martinez (Tijuana) Age 24; 4 caps. Left-sided attacking midfielder who made his international debut against Chile last year and scored his first goal in the 4-3 friendly win over Australia in March. Made his name with an excellent season for Deportivo Quito in 2011 before moving to Mexico.
Joffre Guerron (Beijing Guoan) Age 29; 18 caps. Was recalled to coach Reinaldo Rueda’s qualifying squad immediately after Christian Benitez’s sudden death of heart failure last year but has since been overlooked. Helped LDU Quito win the Libertadores Cup in 2008 and spent three years in Brazil with Cruzeiro and Atletico Paranaense before moving to China in 2012.
Junior Sornoza (Independiente del Valle) Age 20; 0 caps. Was called up for the first time for the last two qualifiers against Uruguay and Chile in October but did not play. Scored four goals in his team’s six 2014 Libertadores Cup group matches, three penalties and a brilliant, long range, added-time winner in the 2-1 home victory over Botafogo in March. (His club was formerly called Independiente Jose Teran)
Compiled by Yury Garcia in Guayaquil; Writing by Rex Gowar/Brian Homewood, editing by Mike Collett