Mon, 28 Nov 2022

Ecuador can get better, says Alfaro

Xinhua
21 Nov 2022, 06:30 GMT+10

AL KHOR, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador manager Gustavo Alfaro said he was happy but not "totally satisfied" with his team's 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar in their opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Sunday.

"The most important thing today was to win. I'm not totally satisfied because we know there are a lot of things we can improve, but we are all learning, including me," the Argentine coach told a post-match press conference at the Al Bayt Stadium.

"It's a great victory. All games in the World Cup are difficult but the opening match against the tournament hosts involves more tension.

"We didn't know how our level would be because there was little time to prepare. We only had four days to get ready for this game. Added to that was the fact it was the opening match of the World Cup, and this is a young team."

Alfaro said his players needed to raise their game to another level in their remaining group-stage matches against Senegal and the Netherlands.

"Today we took an important step but it's not decisive. There are teams that have won their first match of the World Cup and not advanced (to the knockout stage). But having said all of that, this victory is important and it will give us confidence.

"We were good in this match but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. We are in a period of construction. We know that what we achieved in the (South America zone) qualifiers isn't enough. Here we are up against the best teams in the world. The times are short between each game."

Playing in their fourth World Cup, Ecuador's best ever finish in the tournament was a round of 16 appearance against England in 2006, which they lost after a trademark David Beckham free-kick.

"We have big hopes but it's hard to say how much we can advance in the tournament. It will depend on how much we are able to improve and incorporate aspects to our game that we need to get better," Alfaro added.

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