Rueda: Ecuador had to be better
Coach Reinaldo Rueda said Ecuador "had to be at a better level" in order to advance, following their exit from the World Cup with a goalless draw against France on Wednesday.
Ecuador became the fist team to be eliminated despite earning at least four points, as France and Switzerland both advanced instead.
Rueda's team were always up against a tough challenge against France, but the coach blamed Ecaudor's ousting on their opening defeat to Switzerland, in which Haris Seferovic scored in the 93rd minute.
"This is a very short tournament. We paid our dues against Switzerland because we were not efficient," Rueda said. "Knowing that we had an opponent with all the virtues of France, we were missing something to be able to get the points we could have had.
"We had to be at a better level. A good percentage of the players were not successful with their clubs and we did not have enough efficiency.
Rueda, whose contract expires after the World Cup, said his future would be "assessed by the federation of Ecuador."
"Every tournament leaves you great learning lessons, they're all different. At the end, we learn everyday and this is a very demanding profession."
Ecaudor's chances were undone by Antonio Valencia's dismissal, though Rueda refused to place blame on the referee.
"It's unfortunate," the manager said. "I'm very respectful of the referees, and these are issues that are water under the bridge. There's nothing we can do about it. We suffered from this and the game ended as it did. It's unfortunate that some decisions did not favor us."
Ecuador will be the only South American country to be eliminated during the group stage, with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay all successfully navigating into the round of 16.
"This tournament is showing the strength of South American teams," Rueda said. "The eyes of Europe always are in South American talents. They continue with their growth and maturation process in Europe."