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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 13, 2006

Low altitude not a hurdle for Ecuador, says coach

QUITO, Ecuador, May 12 (Reuters) - With the World Cup less than a month away, Ecuador's coach Luis Fernando Suarez on Friday said his team can win without relying on any high altitude advantage.

Playing at 2,800 metres above sea level in Quito, Ecuador has beaten South American giants such as Brazil and Argentina and have reached the World Cup finals twice in a row.

'High altitude is not the main factor,' Suarez told reporters. 'If that were the case, we would have always qualified for the World Cup.'

'We have shown that we have a team that can play... and we will go far during this tournament,' said Suarez, a 47-year-old former defender from neighboring Colombia.

However, Ecuador may struggle to advance to the second round playing at a lower altitude in Germany.

Ecuador won most of their home games in Quito and finished fourth in the qualifying round behind Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been among the critics of their progress.

'Ecuador qualified by winning their games at altitude,' he said.

Ecuador struggled on their debut in Japan and South Korea four years ago, when they managed a sole victory against Croatia and failed to make the second round.

In its last four friendly matches, Ecuador has not played well outside Quito losing against Poland, Holland and Japan, and managing only a victory against Honduras.

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