Ecuador seeking best World Cup finish, says veteran forward Valencia

Ecuador will be aiming for their best-ever World Cup campaign when football’s showpiece tournament kicks off in Qatar later this month, according to veteran forward Enner Valencia.

Ecuador have featured in three previous World Cups, with their best performance coming at the 2006 edition in Germany when they reached the last 16.

“We’re going to have a difficult group, but we know that if we stay confident, motivated and focused, we’re going to have our chances,” the 33-year-old Fenerbahce player told FIFA’s official website.

Ecuador will begin their World Cup campaign in the competition opener against Qatar on November 20 and will also face the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A, reports Xinhua.

“We know that we have to go step by step, we know that we have to think about our first match against Qatar,” Valencia said. “But we also know that we have a squad that will put up a fight.”

One of Ecuador’s elder statesmen, Valencia will be playing in his second World Cup, having also been a part of the 2014 campaign in Brazil.

Ecuador secured a place in the tournament by finishing fourth in the 10-team South American qualifying group.

Valencia, who is Ecuador’s all-time leading scorer with 35 goals in 74 games, said the team was excited about playing the first match of the competition.

“It’s incredible to think that the eyes of the whole world will be on us,” the former West Ham and Everton attacker said. “We’re going to do our best to win. Qatar like to play with the ball but we’re going to study them to identify their strengths and weaknesses.”

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