Ecuador fans proud of "La Tri" despite World Cup elimination

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fans watch in Guayaquil Ecuador v Senegal - Guayaquil, Ecuador - November 29, 2022 Ecuador fans outside Estadio Modelo Alberto Spencer watch the match REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

DOHA, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Ecuador fans are proud of the "Tricolor" national team and many of them praised coach Gustavo Alfaro despite the South American nation being eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday.

Ecuador lost their third Group A match 2-1 to Senegal and finished third behind the Netherlands and the African side.

With the traditional "Si se puede" (Yes we can) chant, fans dressed in the team's shirts, wearing bright hats and blowing horns, cheered until the last minute for Ecuador, who failed to qualify for the last 16, having only ever done so in 2006.

"My feeling is happy because our Tri played a good game, they played well and left our flag flying high," said Magdalena Fuentes, 60, who went with her family to a shopping centre in northern Quito to watch the match.

"Dear Tri, we are waiting for you, happy because you gave everything on the pitch for this town," she added. "Congratulations to the coach (Gustavo Alfaro) because he never lost hope that youth can do it."

Fans gathered at various points across the country to support the players, who were congratulated for the courage and spirit they showed during the World Cup.

"Until the last minute we had hope of reaching the last 16 but unfortunately we didn't make it," said Margarita Vidal, 36. "The players tried hard and in the end they didn't get the win, but they showed they can do it against other stronger teams."

"Ecuador was mentioned and recognised in many countries, that's an achievement that no one can take away from us," she said emotionally at a park in the city of Guayaquil.

This was Ecuador's fourth World Cup. At Germany 2006 they reached the last 16 but were knocked out by England.

However, many fans believe it was the "Tricolor's" best World Cup because of the young players who gave their all.

"Today we must thank them for their work and commitment. Thank you for inviting us to dream, for your sacrifice and your hunger for glory," the country's President Guillermo Lasso wrote on his Twitter account.

"For Ecuador, this team is made up of winners."

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia and Yury García in Guayaquil, Writing by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; editing by Ken Ferris

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