Tue, 30 Nov 2021

CARACAS, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador are still well-placed to earn a place at next year's FIFA World Cup despite suffering two defeats in their past three qualifiers, according to forward Enner Valencia.

The 31-year-old Fenerbahce player, who scored from the penalty spot in Ecuador's 2-1 defeat to Venezuela in Caracas on Sunday, said his teammates had maintained a positive frame of mind ahead of the clash against Colombia in Barranquilla on Thursday.

"Our goal for now is to qualify for the World Cup and we are still in the fight. We have to continue thinking like this. We have a very difficult match against Colombia coming up and we are going to prepare as best as we can." he added.

Valencia said his teammates and manager Gustavo Alfaro had already identified where the team needs to improve.

"We made some mistakes that we need to correct. We can't afford to make them again against Colombia," Valencia said. "We have to go there with a positive mindset and try to step up our game."

Ecuador remain third in the 10-team South American zone standings with 16 points from 11 matches, 12 points behind leaders Brazil.

The top four teams in the group will automatically earn a berth at next year's World Cup in Qatar while the fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff.

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