Thursday, June 15, 2006

Salve, O Patria

Congratulations are in order for Ecuador, who punched their ticket to the second round of the 2006 World Cup after slaughtering Costa Rica, 3-0, earlier today.

Not too many people gave Ecuador, playing in its second World Cup, much of a chance of getting out of the first round; one prognosticator compared Ecuador to one of those first-round-and-out teams in the NCAA basketball tournament. The team was criticized because of their relative lack of success outside of their home stadium in Quito, where opposing teams had to contend with the high altitude, and the team's overall lack of players with European experience. However, after convicing shutout wins over Poland and Costa Rica, Ecuador is turning a few heads and is proving that it belongs on the world stage.

I can imagine the celebrations that are occurring in the streets of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta tonight. This is about as big as it gets for the tiny, improverished Andean nation. I kind of wish I was down there right now...

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