Ecuador is poised to keep hold of their World Cup spot in Qatar after Chile were unsuccessful in getting their South American opponents booted out of the competition.
At one point, it seemed that Ecuador’s World Cup Finals berth was in jeopardy after Chile was up in arms over the eligibility of Byron Castillo to represent Ecuador.
Castillo has made 10 appearances for Ecuador. However, Chile and Peru filed appeals contesting whether he should have been allowed to turn out for Ecuador in the World Cup qualifiers.
But FIFA has quashed Chile’s claim that Castillo is actually Colombian and used a false birth certificate to register as Ecuadorian, insisting that the right-back is eligible and his documents are all in order.
Reacting to the news, Jorge Yunge, general secretary of the Football Federation of Chile (FFC), insisted his country won’t give up just yet with their legal battle.
He said: “This is a dark day for football and the system’s credibility.
“The footballing world heard a player who helped Ecuador qualify for the FIFA World Cup admit he was born in Colombia and gained an Ecuadorian passport using false information. No wonder he refused to participate in the FIFA hearing.
“Of course, we will refer this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport because the weight of evidence is clear. We urge the appeal committee to deliver the grounds of the decision very quickly because there were enough unjustifiable delays and postponements in this case.”
Indeed, Chile has been working on this case since April and had Ecuador forfeited the eight qualifiers that Castillo had played in. Chile would have assumed the fourth automatic qualification place for the World Cup Finals, while Ecuador would have dropped out.
While world football’s leading lights will naturally glean the most attention from the fans and the media alike, the World Cup provides a chance for some of the dark horses or rather unfancied teams to come to the fore and spring a surprise.
Many of the world’s leading bookmakers will constantly be updating their outright odds on how some outsiders will fare and whether or not they can make an impression. For example, at bet365, you can find FIFA World Cup predictions for how Ecuador will get on. Currently, Ecuador is trading at 150/1 to lift the World Cup, while they are at a much shorter odds to qualify from Group A and reach the knockout stages.
- Lies On Social Media Inflame Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- Liverpool Draws At Everton, a Momentary Pause Before its Party
- Stephen Curry Scores 62 Points in Win Over Trail Blazers
Of course, the Ecuador episode has left a nasty taste in the mouths of those associated with Chile, but Ecuador will argue that they deserve to be in the World Cup on merit.
For now, Ecuador hopes they can put this controversy behind them and let their football do the talking on the pitch. It will be fascinating to see how they fare in Qatar.