Ecuador’s probably going to be at Brazil 2014. They currently sit second in CONMEBOL qualifying, four points back to region-leading Argentina but seven head of Uruguay, whose sixth place standing leaves them one spot short of South America’s playoff spot. Now up to 10th in the (admittedly deceiving) FIFA rankings, Ecuador’s a team on the rise, even if their goal difference hints their results may regress.
Regardless, Reinaldo Rueda’s team should have been expected to a challenge for a German national team that was without all of its stars. Neither Bayern Munich nor Borussia Dortmund players took part, while Real Madrid midfielders Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira are still with the Merengues (the Spanish season ending June 1). Joachim Löw’s team was a collection of second and third-teamers, one that should have been at a disadvantage against Antonio Valencia, Christian Benítez, and Felipe Caicedo.
But when the teams kicked off this afternoon in Boca Raton, Germany held all the advantages. Lukas Podolski scored in the first minute and added another at the 17-minute mark. In between Lars Bender had doubled Germany’s lead, and when the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder completed his own double in the 24th, Löw’s side had an early four-goal lead.
Antonio Valencia scored before halftime, and Walter Ayovi added a very late second, leaving the final a slightly more explicable 4-2, but for an Ecuador side that resumes World Cup qualifying June 7 in Peru, the performance was a worrying way to transition into an important summer. Giving up four goals in 24 minutes against anybody should send a coach through the roof, but against a team that chose reserves at every position? It was embarrassing.
As for the Germans, next up is … well, look at this: the United States, Sunday, at RFK Stadium. So much for a weakened Germany.