Tag Archives: Ecuador 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20

Ecuador 3-3 USA (Group F, 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, 22 May 2017)

Ecuador’s opening Group F game of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup saw them get off to a brilliant start yet were ultimately denied all three points at the very end by an irrepressible USA. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the match and, most importantly, @DarrenSphericals armchair talent-tracking…


(Source: Wikipedia – Check here for all other results, fixtures and standings)

Ecuador 3-3 USA

2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Group F, 22 May 2017 (YouTube)

Javier Rodríguez’s men were fast out of the traps yet were to be prevented at the death of claiming three points in this entertaining inauguration of Group F. They were 2-0 up within seven minutes as first Herlín Lino slotted into the net following some good flank-work from Washington Corozo then, two minutes later, Bryan Cabezas did great to worm away from a defender before firing home. However, in this rather open encounter, opportunities never seemed too far away and, though the Americans at times struggled with the Ecuadorians’ physicality and pace, they did gradually regroup. In the 36th minute, they halved the deficit as the impressive Luca de la Torre of Fulham roamed forward in the centre, laying the ball to 17-year-old Josh Sargent, who struck low into the back of the net.

Buoyed by this, USA stepped things up and, nine minutes after the restart, got their equaliser when Sargent notched his second, a close-range header which greeted a fine ball from Brooks Lennon on the right. However, their South American opponents were not primed to roll over for the inevitable, insteading persevering to make their presence felt. That said, when they regained the lead on 64 minutes, they received more than a bit of help from goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (yes, son of Jürgen, who was in the stands). He had previously made a fine close-range stop but here, he dilly-dallied on a pass back and, under pressure, could only knock it straight out to Cabezas, who was able to place it past him. Subsequently, the game did not have as many clear-cut opportunities and it looked as if La Mini Tri were going to clinch a victory. However, in the fourth minute of stoppage-time, another testing cross from Lennon was poorly dealt with by an Ecuador defender, who headed it directly into the path of de la Torre. His low strike thus ended the affair all square.

Talent Tracking

ecuadorflag Ecuador

As they did on home soil during the qualifying campaign, the yellow-and-blue boys showed that they have an array of speedy and strong attackers at their disposal. Indeed, early on, Washington Corozo (No. 7, Independiente Del Valle) made a vital contribution when he gave a demonstration of his pace, bursting past a defender into the area, then nudging it away from the oncoming Klinsmann at the crucial moment. This cut-back left Herlín Lino (No. 9, Deportivo Cuenca) with a virtually unguarded goal to strike into for the fifth-minute opener. Later on in the 56th minute Lino had a good chance to double his tally when he was spotted by the central Wilter Ayoví (No. 8, Independiente Del Valle) – who quietly impressed earlier this year and was given a start here – but the shot was well blocked by Klinsmann.

Lino looked rather alert but Ecuador’s main man was again their topscorer in qualifying, left-sided forward Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta), who netted twice. His first goal, which came after seven minutes, allowed him to show off his attributes with quick-fire aplomb. This arrived following a pass from midfielder Jhonny Quiñónez (No. 16, Norte América), who was a somewhat curious inclusion in the line-up as he wasn’t in the qualifying squad and hasn’t actually made any club appearances this year. From this, Cabezas controlled with his left, before a rapid stepover and another touch gave him the space he needed to rifle home inside the area. In the second half, the attacker who impressed with Cinderella story Independiente Del Valle in last year’s Copa Libertadores doubled his account after the pressure Joao Rojas (No. 17, Emelec) put Klinsmann under was evidently too much for the goalkeeper to handle, with his shaky clearance falling to the feet of the wrong man. This gift was thus comfortably dispatched to make it 3-2, allowing Cabezas to announce himself as the tournament’s joint-top scorer with Sargent.

Otherwise, though it was a strong performance in the final third, it seems that the defence is still every bit the liability that it was in qualifying. Indeed, though left-back Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) is very much a prospect going forward, he again provided evidence that his defensive work and/or communication can be somewhat suspect. It may be debatable how much precisely he was at fault – those to his right as well as in front are certainly also culpable to varying degrees – but the bald facts are that the first goal involved a pass going between him and the centre-backs and the last two were the result of crosses from his flank. On each, he was not even close to the danger men and Lennon, in particular, had much joy throughout the second half spraying in balls from his side. Perhaps those in front who sometimes covered for him following his upfield gallivanting were also guilty and the last goal was certainly more the fault of the defender who, instead of clearing, headed the ball directly to de la Torre. All the same, the entire back line as well as the defensive-midfielders who occasionally allowed the USA to roam centrally really need to tighten things up at the back if Ecuador are to make any serious inroads at this tournament.

In the other Group F game played today, Senegal won 2-0 against Saudi Arabia, who will be Ecuador’s next opponents on Thursday 25 May 2017.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news on the South American nations at South Korea 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter and check back to Hispanospherical.com for match-by-match talent-tracking articles.

Darren Spherical


Ecuador – Top Talents at the 2017 Under-20 South American Youth Championship

The 2017 Under-20 South American Youth Championship took place in Ecuador from 18 January until 11 February. @DarrenSpherical watched all 35 games, writing reports for each encounter that detailed all the significant moments by the most talented players that were spotted. This article focuses on the most notable starlets found in the ranks of Under-20 World Cup qualifiers Ecuador, who ultimately finished 2nd in the final group stage (also known as the Hexagonal), having initially progressed after topping Group A. Before browsing below, it may be advisable to have a look at the final standings, results and goalscorers here and/or read the main reference guide published on this website, which features details on dozens of players, with every one of the ten participating nations represented. 

(All photographs are credited to GettyImages)


ecuadorflag Ecuador 

Tournament Summary 

The hosts, who were at their most threatening when playing a fast-paced, physical brand of football, were often the most exciting team to watch, a view best supported by their 4-3 victory against Colombia in the first group stage. They ended as the joint-highest scorers and pulled off some emphatic victories in the Hexagonal, including 3-0 wins against both Argentina and Colombia, before ultimately surrendering their outside title challenge against Uruguay in the final match.

To view highlights as well as read more about how Ecuador got on and who stood out in each game, click here

Top Two Talents


Bryan Cabezas (Attacking-midfielder/Forward, No. 10, Atalanta, Italy)

With five goals from his nine starts, left-sided attacker Bryan Cabezas finished as one of the four joint top-scorers, impressively netting four times in the Hexagonal phase. Indeed, after having to come off with a possible concussion in the opener against Brazil, he returned to net a penalty in the 4-3 win over Colombia and converted another spot-kick as a consolation in the heavy Hexagonal loss to Venezuela. It was in the subsequent two games that he really made his mark as he scored three goals (once against Argentina and twice against Colombia  – both 3-0 spankings), all of which were well-placed finishes from a position inside the area on the left. Otherwise, he set up another goal against Argentina with a fine low ball across the area which found Jordy Caicedo and, generally, was a rambunctious nuisance for defenders, unsettling them when bustling his way forward.

Though his team-mates also deserve much credit for seeking Cabezas out, with such good finishing, his direct, unsubtle approach appears to work well for him and at club level, he’s already been mixing it with the big boys at an impressively high standard. Indeed, back in July, he played in the Copa Libertadores final for Ecuadorian Cinderella story Independiente Del Valle; the following month, he agreed a deal with Serie A’s Atalanta, where he has thus far sat on the bench nearly a dozen times this season. Though they may be hesitant to risk jeopardising their outstanding campaign, perhaps when their starlet returns – after first joining up with the senior squad for a friendly with Honduras – some on-field minutes are in order.


Pervis Estupiñán (Left-back, No. 6, Granada, Spain)

Though nominally a left-back, the man who may well come to be known as ‘Pervy Stupidname’ by morons everywhere (or perhaps just this writer) may well be better suited a little further upfield. Indeed, even though three were perfectly executed spot-kicks, it was nevertheless impressive of him to bag four goals and he was regularly a threat bombing up his flank, manfully striding past opponents. Not missing a single minute of the competition, he played a vital role for the hosts, beginning the comeback in the 4-3 win over Colombia with a low strike and putting away his three penalties in consecutive Hexagonal matches against Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. As well as scoring, with well-weighted balls up the left he also played it forward for Herlin Lino to win the first penalty against Brazil and, after opening up some space, set up Cabezas’ second goal in the 3-0 Hexagonal win against Colombia.

Defensively, he is perhaps more of a mixed bag. Indeed, Ecuador’s record of 14 goals conceded in nine games was nothing to brag about and there were occasions when Estupiñán was clearly the culprit for defensive lapses – perhaps most notably twice from crosses against Chile, though only one resulted in a goal. However, he also thwarted many attackers with his fearsome tenacity and physicality on the left, as well cleared the ball off the line at least twice (both times in the Hexagonal clash with Brazil).

Perhaps there was little call for him to be pushed forward to the left of midfield as that position was occupied by Cabezas, but, in time, things may pan out differently at Granada, for whose B team he has been playing for since the beginning of the season. Before this move, he had been playing in the L.D.U. Quito first-team consistently since he was 17 years old. Furthermore, given that two years ago he also played (and scored) in both the Under-17 Sudamericano tournament as well as the World Cup – where Ecuador reached the quarter-final – and his uncle, Jorge Guagua, has over 60 caps for La Tri, he appears to be a man of solid pedigree. As Granada currently need all the help they can get in La Liga, they could surely do much worse than hand a first-team start to Estupiñán. Who knows, they may experience similarly exhilarating results to what occurred when their buy from 2015’s tournament, Venezuela’s Adalberto Peñaranda, was given a try later that year.

ecuadorflag More Ecuadorian Talents

Particularly in the first group stage, Joao Rojas (No. 17, Emelec) looked to be Ecuador’s most creative midfielder, regularly putting in dangerous balls from open play as well as set-pieces and also not being afraid to strike. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet, particularly against Chile when he had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. Also, though he had an important role in the build-up of at least four goals, for only one of these could he be credited with an assist: a slide across the area for Washington Corozo’s opener against Paraguay. However, though he appeared to be a frequent source of trouble for opponents, following the 4-2 hiding by Venezuela in the Hexagonal, he was replaced early and left out of the starting line-ups for the final three games. Hopefully, having already regularly played for nearly two seasons with domestic side S.D. Aucas, he will be able to prove himself as a consistent threat at his new club, giants Emelec.

Rojas was one of several talented supporting Ecuador midfielders who frequently helped to create chances and confusion, with opposition defenders often struggling to contend with several bustling threats at once. One of the most significant of these was Ajax-target Jordan Sierra (No. 15, Delfin), who appeared to play in a more central, deep-lying role to Rojas and gradually came to overshadow him. Indeed, in his first two outings he was notable for some testing long-range efforts but then early on in the third game against Chile he displayed great tenacity and desire to hold off and evade the challenges of two defenders before managing to sneak in a goal that went in off the far post. Otherwise, with his dinked forward ball to Rojas, he played a key role in the opener in the subsequent game against Paraguay and later, in the Hexagonal, set up Cabezas’ first goal against Colombia. As with Cabezas and Félix Torres (No. 23, Barcelona de Guayaquil) – who played in five games but never really caught this observer’s eye – Sierra has been called up for the senior squad’s friendly with Honduras on 22 February.

To a lesser extent as he was not afforded as many chances – three starts, plus four substitute appearances – fellow midfielder Wilter Ayoví (No. 8, Independiente Del Valle) could also be a handful. Indeed, he displayed a notable capacity for driving forward, bustling and making things happens. His most notable contribution was the last-gasp cross that was nodded in by Jordy Caicedo to claim an enthralling 4-3 victory over Colombia in the opening stage. Thirty seconds prior he had a gilt-edged opportunity to win the game himself and before this had also managed to get in a couple other attempts, as he did in two other matches he featured in.

Working in close tandem with these attacking-midfielders were a range of forwards, who also impressed. Indeed, along with Cabezas, there was three-goal Jordy Caicedo (No. 19, Universidad Católica del Ecuador), who played in all nine games, starting four. As noted, he dramatically began his tally by heading in Ayoví’s cross for the late 4-3 win against Colombia, with his other two coming in the pair of 3-0 wins in the Hexagonal, firstly a tap-in against Argentina and then a clinical strike against Colombia.

With perhaps more versatility in his game, Herlin Lino (No. 9, currently unattached, though ex-Barcelona de Guayaquil; El Nacional interested) made a nuisance of himself and managed to bag two goals. The first of these was a sensational 25-yard volley against Paraguay, certainly one of the goals of the tournament, whereas the second was the last of the competition, a deft touch following a long ball from right-back Kevin Minda (No. 4, L.D.U. Quito) that halved Uruguay’s lead. He was also notable for having a curious knack of forcing opponents into fouls and winning penalties; he was fouled for the one in the 4-3 win over Colombia and, remarkably, for both in the 2-2 Hexagonal draw against Brazil, with many fans feeling he was also narrowly denied another one late on.

Last but by no means least, though with one goal he was not as prolific as he was at U-17 level (goals in 8 games at 2015’s Sudamericano tournament, then 2 in 5 encounters later that year at the World Cup), Washington Corozo (No. 7, Independiente Del Valle) made his presence known. With his fast pace, he impressed running at opponents and though he only got one assist (a short pass to Estupiñán in the opening stage win against Colombia), had some of his team-mates been a little sharper, he could have had at least a few more. His solitary goal came against Paraguay; shortly beforehand he should’ve netted with a header in space which instead hit the post, but he made no mistake for the 20th-minute opener when Rojas slid the ball to him and, unmarked, he turned to convert. Like Rojas, he either fell out of favour and/or succumbed to fatigue as, despite also starting the first six games, he was a substitute for the last three.

If you would like to read about the best talents from the other nations, then click on the following links: Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia The Best of the Early Departees (Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia & Peru). All of this information is also contained in this mammoth Reference Guide

Darren Spherical


Ecuador 1-2 Uruguay (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 5, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 11 February 2017)

The final game which took place on the last Hexagonal Matchday of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw hosts Ecuador face Uruguay in a battle for the title. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 


(Source: Wikipedia)

Ecuador 1-2 Uruguay

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 11 February 2017 (YouTube)

In this title-deciding encounter, Uruguay were out the traps early and with relative comfort ultimately went on to clinch the championship by an impressive five points. They were gifted the lead after a mere five minutes when Ecuador defender Luis Segovia suicidally passed the ball inside his own area to Joaquín Ardaiz who gratefully tucked it away. Twenty minutes later Ardaiz virtually sealed the competition for Uruguay when he received a long ball and clinically struck it home. Now requiring three goals, though Ecuador did get forward they never really looked like realistically pulling off the comeback; they did nevertheless halve the deficit in the 66th minute when Herlin Lino managed to knock a forward ball past the goalkeeper. Ultimately however, it was Uruguay’s day and tournament; though it was a topsy-turvy 25 days and even Uruguay gave observers reasons to doubt them, they came through and can deservedly be called the best Under-20 nation in South America.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

They were outsiders to win the title and any game plan they had went out the window as soon as Luis Segovia (No. 21, El Nacional) gifted Uruguay their opening goal within five minutes. Going two behind after 26 minutes all but ensured the destination of the trophy though, to their minor credit, Ecuador did at least try to threaten the opposition defence throughout the game.

Indeed, unsurprisingly top-scorer Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy) could be a threat, particularly early on. In the 13th minute he managed to gain some space and get a shot away from the edge of the area, which the Uruguayan goalkeeper uncomfortably spilt. Ecuador have several quality attack-minded players and so some have been afforded more opportunities than others in this tournament but here Wilter Ayoví (No. 8, Independiente Del Valle) caught the eye, coming close to scoring twice. Indeed, in the 19th minute he swung in a free-kick with his right boot from the left near the byline which had to be blocked out at the near post. Then, more notably three minutes later, he did well to capitalise on an error then twist and turn his way past two players before firing a shot from inside the area that was deflected just over for a corner. Into the second half, Ecuador did manage to provide a glimmer of hope for their fans when in the 66th minute a long ball from right-back Kevin Minda (No. 4, L.D.U. Quito) was deftly touched by Herlin Lino (No. 9, Barcelona SC, Ecuador) through the legs of the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 2-1. However, despite this, they struggled to put Uruguay under much more pressure, with an 82nd-minute free-kick from substitute Joao Rojas (No. 17, Emelec) that went hopelessly over being the closest they came to another goal.

Alas, the scoreline remained the same and Uruguay were crowned champions. Nevertheless, Ecuadorians can come away with much pride that they not only hosted an often exciting tournament but that their team was often the most entertaining side on show, managing to finish a very credible second and will be going to South Korea in May.

uruguayflag Uruguay

Though Ecuador never entirely gave up, Uruguay had effectively killed off the game within the opening half-hour. Indeed, they showed strength in depth by dropping at least a couple of their most impressive players and it was one of the stand-ins who was to score both of their goals. Indeed, Joaquín Ardaiz (No. 7, Danubio) took advantage of a hopeless defensive error in the fifth minute, before shielding the ball from another defender and then sliding home from inside the area. His second came in the 26th minute when Nicolás De La Cruz (No. 11, Liverpool, Uruguay), arguably the most consistent top performer in the tournament, dinked a ball over a defender which Ardaiz confidently finished off.

Otherwise, Uruguay had a couple of other minor chances in the first half but it was after Ecuador pulled a goal back in the second period that they really further tested the opposition goalkeeper. Indeed, in the 69th minute, perhaps the most naturally talented player in the competition, Rodrigo Amaral (No. 10, Nacional, Uruguay), came off the bench and two minutes later had an opportunity to win the golden boot outright. Alas, though he curled this centrally placed free-kick well with his left peg, it ultimately went slightly wide; thus, after the game he had to share the top-scorer’s trophy with three other players who also scored five goals: Ecuador’s Bryan Cabezas and Argentina’s Marcelo Torres and Lautaro Martínez. Five minutes after Amaral’s free-kick, another set-piece was well-struck from the middle of the park; this time it was De La Cruz over the ball and he did well to curl a right-footed effort which had to be parried out.

Nevertheless, though they didn’t build on their early lead, they didn’t really need to, with the likes of Agustín Rogel (No. 18, Nacional) at the back instead largely effectively frustrating and hassling opponents off the ball.

When the final whistle blew, the Uruguayan joy was palpable as they won their first South American Under-20 tournament since 1981 (their eighth overall) and kept up a very impressive recent youth record. For many fans, this will have gone some way to making up for the narrow defeat suffered in the decisive final game by a similarly outstanding side to Argentina on home soil two years ago in front of over 65,000 people. Now, this generation of players from this small over-achieving nation shall go with Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina to the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea in May with a spring in their collective step, no doubt believing that they can yet again upset the odds – and this time on a much grander scale.

The two other games played on the fifth and final Hexagonal Matchday were Argentina vs Venezuela and Colombia vs Brazil – talent-spotting articles have already been published for these two matches.  

Otherwise, to keep track with the careers of these and many other talented South Americans, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical


Ecuador 3-0 Colombia (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 4, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 8 February 2017)

The first game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 4 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw hosts Ecuador face Colombia. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 


(Source: Wikipedia)

Ecuador 3-0 Colombia

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 8 February 2017 (YouTube)

Colombia’s already slim World Cup qualification hopes were killed off as Ecuador greatly increased theirs following this comfortable victory. The hosts had little to fear from their unambitious opponents and swatted them aside with three second-half goals. The first of these came five minutes after the restart when Bryan Cabezas was played into the area on the left and did well to strike home low. The second goal occurred soon after Colombia had a shot saved in the 63rd minute; this time, a free-kick into the area was poorly dealt with by a defender and Jordy Caicedo was on hand to clinically double the lead. The third and final goal arrived with seven minutes to go when a fine through-ball on the left led to Cabezas roaming into the area and placing a shot past the goalkeeper. Ecuador now go into their final match on Saturday with Uruguay knowing that a win, coupled with the result of the Argentina-Venezuela game going their way, would see them win the tournament.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy) again led the Ecuadorian attack and was ultimately rewarded with two goals. Even before he had got onto the scoresheet, he had already caused a couple of problems for the opposition back-line, firstly in the 18th minute when he ran onto a through-ball on the left in the area and, though offside, poked a shot goalwards. 17 minutes later, he had a better opportunity from a similar position when Herlin Lino (No. 9, Barcelona SC, Ecuador) played an incisive ball through and he whistled a left-footed strike just wide of the far post. However, it was in the 50th minute that he was able to make the breakthrough, when he latched onto a pass from Jordan Sierra (No. 15, Delfin) in an identical position on the left inside the area and drilled a low left-footed strike past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0. Later on in the 83rd minute, he wrapped up the victory when Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) – who was again a regular attacking threat – perfectly timed his pass to Cabezas in his trusty position on the left in the area, from where he slid home to make it 3-0. Following these goals, Cabezas now finds himself as the tournament’s joint top-scorer, along with Uruguay’s Rodrigo Amaral and Argentina’s Marcelo Torres, with five goals.

The second goal that divided Cabezas’ strikes was netted by Jordy Caicedo (No. 19, Universidad Católica, Ecuador) for his third of the tournament. Previously, he had a low shot on the turn easily saved in the 36th minute before coming much closer to scoring some four minutes later. Indeed, Wilter Ayoví (No. 8, Independiente Del Valle) – who earlier had a tame shot of his own saved – did well to take the ball past a defender and into the area on the right, from where he slid in a low cross that Cabezas went for but which instead found its way to Caicedo; however, his shot was deflected and bobbled wide for a corner. Caicedo’s goal instead came along in the 63rd minute, when a free-kick from the right was swung in and a dreadful error by a defender allowed the ball through to the Ecuador striker who pounced to swing home a low strike.

colombia Colombia

For the second consecutive game, there were very few positives to be said about Colombia, who have limply surrendered their chance to play at the U-20 World Cup, a tournament at which two years prior they reached the Round of 16.

Here, their star of the past few weeks, Juan ‘El Cucho’ Hernández (No. 10, América de Cali, on loan from Granada, Spain), had two minor moments that, admittedly, are barely worthy of a mention. The first occurred just before half time when, probably frustrated on the left edge of the area, he turned and chipped a right-footed effort that was very comfortable for the goalkeeper. The second came just two minutes after the restart when a throw found him on the right inside the area and he put the ball onto his left foot but hit his shot comfortably wide.

Otherwise, in the 62nd minute, just before Ecuador doubled their lead, Julián Quiñones (No. 7, Tigres, Mexico) picked up the ball and struck from about 30 yards; it was a good left-footed effort from a central position, though the goalkeeper got down to parry it out. Also, with virtually the last kick of the game, Quiñones put in a corner that Jorge Obregón (No. 19, Unión Magdalena) managed to head but it was easily blocked a second or so before the final whistle brought down the curtains on Colombia’s aspirations.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 4 were Uruguay vs Venezuela and Brazil vs Argentina – talent-spotting articles have also been published for these matches.

Otherwise, the fifth and final Matchday of the Hexagonal will be on 11 February 2017 and the games shall be Argentina vs Venezuela, Colombia vs Brazil and Ecuador vs Uruguay – expect to see one last bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical


Ecuador 3-0 Argentina (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 3, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 5 February 2017)

The final game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 3 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw hosts Ecuador face holders Argentina. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 


(Source: Wikipedia)

Ecuador 3-0 Argentina

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 5 February 2017 (YouTube)

Argentina put in a woeful performance as they were comfortably trounced by hosts Ecuador, who got themselves back into the hunt for World Cup qualification. Indeed, Ecuador dominated the chances, with their first goal coming after 40 minutes, when Pervis Estupiñán struck home a penalty. They doubled their lead in the 58th minute when Bryan Cabezas slid the ball across the goalmouth where it was knocked in at the back post by Jordy Caicedo. The third and final goal came five minutes later when Cabezas dispossessed and bustled his way past a defender on the left in the area before squeezing home a finish.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) stepped up to convert his 40th-minute penalty down the middle with consummate ease – this was his third successful spot-kick in consecutive games and the left-back now has a remarkable four goals altogether in the tournament.

He also had a hand in the second goal after 58 minutes when he slid the ball on the left to  Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy); he, in turn, knocked a low ball across the goalmouth where it was tapped in by Jordy Caicedo (No. 19, Universidad Católica, Ecuador) at the back post. For the third goal some five minutes later, right-back Kevin Minda (No. 4, L.D.U. Quito) played a long diagonal ball which Cabezas quickly mugged a defender of before knocking past the goalkeeper. Cabezas, in particular, impressed with his goal and assist and he also had Ecuador’s first two chances of the game. Indeed, in the third minute on the left in the area, he knocked a ball that bounced back to him so, instinctively, he whacked a strike from an angle, but it was always rising and went over. Then, four minutes later at the corner of the area on the left, he struck a shot that was hit with the pace of a cross but nevertheless forced the goalkeeper to first parry, then gather.

Otherwise, Ecuador had the lion’s share of the chances, including the following:

In the 15th minute, Herlin Lino (No. 9, Barcelona SC, Ecuador) whacked a strike from the right just outside of the area, but it went over. Four minutes later, Caicedo chased a long ball up the right into the area, though his shot from a slightly awkward angle was easily saved. The following minute from just outside of the left corner of the area, Jordan Sierra (No. 15, Delfin) hit a well-paced right-footed strike that was parried low at the near post. Seven minutes later, Sierra curled in a good cross from the right and Lino rose high, coming extremely close to the target but his header bounced inches wide of the post. Much later on in 52nd minute, Ecuador’s other chance of note occurred when Caicedo came bustling forward, played a one-two and then hit a right-footed dipping effort from 30 yards which went just a yard or two over.

argentinaflag Argentina

Los Pibes barely had an opportunity worth speaking of, with most of their attempts on the Ecuador goal coming from long distance. Indeed, in the 7th minute, right-back Nicolás Zalazar (No. 14, San Lorenzo) struck with the outside of his right boot from 30 yards, though this ultimately dipped rather harmlessly for the goalkeeper to catch. 11 minutes later, some 25-30 yards out from a free-kick on the left, one of Argentina’s more impressive players in the tournament, Tomás Conechny (No. 20, San Lorenzo), hit his effort just a yard or so over the bar. Then in the 31st minute, defender Cristian Romero (No. 2, Belgrano) intercepted a ball before shooting from 30 yards on the inside-right, but this went to the goalkeeper.

Otherwise, the only other half-chance of note came in the 65th minute when Lautaro Martínez (No. 9, Racing Club) took on two or three players from the right before making it into the area; he tried to strike an effort with his left boot but, owing to pressure from a defender, ended up hitting this shot wide of the mark.

The pickings really were that slim for Argentina and while their penultimate game against Brazil may not technically be a must-win game, with just three points from a possible nine, it will certainly be treated that way in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 3 were Brazil vs Venezuela and Uruguay vs Colombia – talent-spotting articles have already been published for these matches.

Otherwise, Matchday 4 of the Hexagonal will be on 8 February 2017 and the games shall be Ecuador vs Colombia, Uruguay vs Venezuela and Brazil vs Argentina – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical


Ecuador 2-4 Venezuela (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 2, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 2 February 2017)

The third game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 2 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw hosts Ecuador play Venezuela. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 


(Source: Wikipedia)

Ecuador 2-4 Venezuela

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 2 February 2017 (YouTube)

Gaining their first victory of the tournament, Venezuela burst through the floodgates and humbled hosts Ecuador in a very convincing display. In a rather quiet first half, Yangel Herrera opened the scoring in the 40th minute with a fine, if deflected, effort. Half time produced a surprise all-consuming patch of fog, which threatened to halt the game, but thankfully it did not come to that, even if the hosts were soon hoping that the match would be called off. Indeed, within 19 minutes of the restart, they were 4-0 down as, firstly, Yeferson Soteldo converted a penalty in the 53rd minute, then three minutes later Ronaldo Chacón collected Soteldo’s deflected shot and blasted home for the third; lastly, in the 64th minute, Sergio Córdova received Soteldo’s pass and comfortably struck home for the fourth. Late on, Ecuador, who barely managed a shot from open play in the entire game, were able to paper over the scoreline somewhat, with two penalties converted by, first,  Pervis Estupiñán in the 88th minute and then, seven minutes into stoppage-time, Bryan Cabezas. Despite this, the match was Venezuela’s and they can now consider World Cup qualification a serious possibility.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

The hosts got forward in the first half but were always thwarted by the opposition defence, who did not allow them to play with their characteristic verve and bustle; consequently, they had no attacking moments worth recollecting. The second half was little better, as they only managed to cause minor inroads when Venezuela were already thumping them 4-0; for example, in the 76th minute when substitute Wilter Ayoví (No. 8, Independiente Del Valle) forced a low parry from his 25-yard right-footed blast. Ecuador may have underestimated their opposition or simply been worn down by the competition as they were barely in this game; they can count themselves very fortunate that they were gifted two soft penalties – scored by Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) and Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy) – to at least improve their goal difference.

venezuelaflag Venezuela

Though Yeferson Soteldo (No. 10, Huachipato, Chile) may have had some involvement with all four goals, it was nevertheless a fine team performance from Venezuela, as they finally burst out of their shell to not only win, but win handsomely. Before they opened the scoring, the first half had been a rather quiet affair as the Venezuelan defence had done a fine job frustrating and neutering the Ecuadorian attack. Venezuela did not get forward a great deal themselves, however, with their best attempt perhaps coming from a 22nd-minute corner curled in by Soteldo which Ronaldo Chacón (No. 11, Caracas FC) headed at the near post into the side-netting.

Nevertheless, in the 40th minute, they well and truly got the ball rolling. Just outside of the right corner of the area, Yangel Herrera (No. 8, Manchester City) received a short pass from Soteldo and then curled a sublime effort over the goalkeeper to give Venezuela the lead – a dozen replays later and it’s still unclear how many of his compatriots watching on are willing to admit that it took a hefty deflection. Into the foggy second half, Ronaldo Peña (No. 9, Las Palmas, Spain) won a penalty eight minutes after the restart and Soteldo stepped up, perhaps doing the sensible thing in the conditions, by simply striking it down the middle to make it 2-0. Barely three minutes later in the 56th minute, Soteldo’s shot was deflected into the path of Chacón, who struck home a fine left-footed effort for his first goal of the tournament. Eight minutes later, Soteldo did some nice work on the left of the area before sliding it over to Sergio Córdova (No. 23, Caracas FC) who also scored his first goal of the tournament with a low, left-footed shot that seemed to wrongfoot the goalkeeper.

Other than the goals, Venezuela didn’t have a great deal of other chances but then, they didn’t need them. In the 19 opening minutes of the second half they blitzed the hosts on their own soil, leading the Venezuelans in attendance to Olé every pass, with their team appearing to have very much arrived as credible contenders at the tournament. In stoppage-time, the fans also began singing their country’s national anthem, ‘Gloria Al Bravo Pueblo’.

However, it was nevertheless disappointing that they managed to give away two unnecessary penalties. The second one was a careless handball from a corner but the first was due to goalkeeper Wuilker Fariñez (No. 1, Caracas FC) somewhat recklessly colliding with an opponent over a long ball. It’s the second game in a row that the much-acclaimed youngster has given away a penalty and he has now also conceded all three that he has faced in these two Hexagonal games. Given that his tournament began with a notable spot-kick save against Uruguay, one can not help but feel that he is gradually losing some of his lustre.

That said, though it must have been annoying for he and his compatriots to have their goal difference eaten into late on, they have still only conceded four goals in six games – the joint-best in the competition, with Uruguay. Furthermore, things can’t be too bad sitting second in the Hexagonal table with four points from a possible six – expectations, naturally, will have increased.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 2 were Colombia vs Argentina and Uruguay vs Brazil – talent-spotting articles for both matches have already been published.

Otherwise, Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal will be on 5 February 2017 and the games shall be Brazil vs Venezuela, Uruguay vs Colombia and Ecuador vs Argentina – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical


Ecuador 2-2 Brazil (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 1, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 30 January 2017)

With six teams having qualified from the initial group stage, the Final Phase – also known as the Hexagonal – of the 2017 edition of the U-20 South American Youth Championship is now under way. The third and final game which took place on Matchday 1 saw hosts Ecuador face Brazil, as they also had done on the opening day of the tournament. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 


(Source: Wikipedia)


Ecuador 2-2 Brazil

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 30 January 2017 (YouTube)

Due to their own carelessness, Brazil threw away a two-goal lead and could well have ended up on the wrong side of a reversal in Quito. In a ground far less full than usual for the hosts, Ecuador did actually come out of the blocks with intent and could well have been a couple of goals up in the opening several minutes themselves. However, Brazil soon dampened the home expectations when they went ahead in the 15th minute as Guilherme Arana blasted in a rebound. Ten minutes later, immediately after having a header cleared off the line, Brazil made their second bite of the cherry count as Matheus Sávio crossed low for Maycon to confidently strike home. Ecuador did respond with some chances of their own but they nevertheless went in at the break two-down and, in the 23 minutes that followed the restart, it was Brazil who looked more likely to get a third goal of the game. That is, until they conceded a completely unnecessary penalty which Renny Jaramillo stepped up to convert in the 70th minute. Subsequently, Brazil continued their implosion by gifting another ridiculous penalty and this time, in the 78th minute, it was Pervis Estupiñán who confidently dispatched it. Thus, it ended all even, though Ecuador arguably could have won it had another late penalty shout been awarded and/or another late chance converted.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) had quite a game, amongst other things clearing the ball off his own goal-line, having a hand in the winning of the first penalty, clearing the ball off his own goal-line for a second time and then, finally, scoring the second penalty. Indeed, regarding his clearances, even if they were both due to him being in the right place at the right time, they nevertheless seem to be a semi-regular feature of this tournament. The first one here in the 25th minute, however, was of debatable value as though he stopped one header from trespassing over the line, barely ten seconds later, he watched on as the ball was crossed back in and knocked home for the second Brazil goal. Nevertheless, even if he was powerless here, he certainly helped his side recover in the second half. Indeed, in the 68th minute, it was his great, incisive long ball from the left which Herlin Lino (No. 9, Barcelona SC, Ecuador) latched onto and was able to draw a wild foul from the Brazil goalkeeper Caíque to win the first penalty. For this, Renny Jaramillo (No. 14, Independiente Del Valle) stepped up and found the back of the net. Six minutes later, Estupiñán was back to contributing at his own end, clearing a Gabriel header off the line. Then, barely 30 seconds after this, Gabriel went from potential hero to actual villain by fouling Lino for a second Ecuador penalty. This time, it was Estupiñán who took on the responsibility and, with consummate coolness, put his nation on level terms with his spot-kick.

The eagle-eyed will have noted that Lino was therefore directly responsible for winning both penalties. Some fans even believe that he should have gained another for his country in the 83rd minute when he was cynically fouled by Luiz with his feet arguably just inside the area, but alas, a free-kick was instead awarded.

Returning to the first-half, Lino did cause some discomfort when a low 28th-minute cross was deflected off an opponent and had to be saved with Caíque’s outstretched leg. However, Ecuador had far better opportunities to score early on and had they done so, the game could have had a very different complexion.

Indeed, within just 15 seconds, Washington Corozo (No. 7, Independiente Del Valle) fired in a ball from the right which goalkeeper Caíque haplessly flung himself at and missed; Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy) managed to make a connection, but his effort hit the post and then rolled along the goalmouth before a scrambled clearance just about ensured that an early Brazilian disaster was averted. However, four minutes later, Ecuador had a second good opportunity when, having moved in centrally from the left, Corozo slid a finely-weighted ball to Joao Rojas (No. 17, Emelec); from a slight angle on the right of the area, the latter struck a decent low shot that Caíque had to stop with his legs.

Otherwise, Ecuador had a couple of other moments of minor note, such as in the 37th minute when Lino slid but agonisingly missed a well-struck low Cabezas cross and, later in the 55th minute, a header from a Cabezas corner that was easily collected.

It was substitute Jordy Caicedo (No. 19, Universidad Católica, Ecuador) who softly headed this half-chance and he was actually to have a more substantial opportunity to score at the death. Indeed, a fine, incisive midfield pass found him just inside the area but alas, with a defender on his case, he was only able to squeeze a limp effort through which the goalkeeper gratefully stopped with ease.

brazilflag Brazil

Perhaps it was the news that his move to Ajax has been given the green light that caused David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) to play as if he were dancing on cloud nine. Indeed, far more so than in any other match at this tournament, he displayed enormous confidence on the ball, some fancy footwork and a real keenness to shoot. He first got going in the 12th minute, when he received a pass from Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo) on the inside-right and drove a left-footed shot with intent that the Ecuador goalkeeper Cevallos just about got his body behind. Three minutes later, he did well to evade a challenge then whack a low, powerful strike from just outside the area; Cevallos could only parry this out for Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) to blast home the rebound to make it 1-0. Then, just a minute before half time, he marched forward, put the ball onto his left and, from a centre-left position, forced Cevallos to parry low his 25-yard drive. In the second half, there were at least several instances of his ball-skills and ability to creatively take on opponents, the most impressive of these occurring in the 62nd minute. Indeed, here he received a pass on the inside-right and then brilliantly took the ball past Cabezas into the area before striking with intent; alas, his shot went narrowly wide and he was denied a memorable goal.

Brazil’s second goal in the 25th minute came mere moments after they had almost scored and the provider of both of these opportunities was the same man, Matheus Sávio (No. 20, Flamengo). His initial corner was headed in the centre but cleared off the line before the ball found its way back to him on the right; from here, he fired in a low ball that Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians) clinically struck home.

Otherwise, aside from the 76th-minute header from Gabriel (No. 14, Avaí, soon-to-be Lille, France) that was cleared off the line, Brazil didn’t create too many other chances of note, but then again, shouldn’t really have needed to. Indeed, their inability to win was down to two clumsy challenges for the penalties, the first by goalkeeper Caíque (No. 23, Vitória) (who had several dodgy moments, which caused certain commentators to label him ‘Loco Caíque’) and the second by Gabriel (immediately after he had nearly scored). As noted, they were fortunate that the referee deemed the 83rd-minute foul of Douglas Luiz (No. 8, Vasco da Gama) to have been outside of the area, as otherwise they would have succumbed to a defeat of uniquely farcical proportions.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 1 were Colombia vs Venezuela and Uruguay vs Argentina – talent-spotting articles have been published for both of these games. 

Otherwise, Matchday 2 of the Hexagonal will be on 2 February 2017 and the games shall be Colombia vs Argentina, Uruguay vs Brazil and Ecuador vs Venezuela – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical