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By ESPN Staff

South America: Hidalgo hoping to make case

Fernando Hidalgo is hoping a good performance for Ecuador in Wednesday's international friendly against Colombia will help him secure a place in the squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers.

Midfielder Hidalgo, who plays his club football for Guayaquil-based club Barcelona, was a late call-up to the Ecuador party after PSV Eindhoven striker Edison Mendez withdrew because of injury.

And Hidalgo is hoping to impress in the match staged at Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford - the home of the New York Giants.

'I am delighted. I will do my best to represent my country in the best way possible,' he said.

'I always work hard to reach good form. I hope I can show it in the Colombia match.'

Colombia have also suffered an injury withdrawal with River Plate striker Radamel Falcao Garcia pulling out with a leg problem.

Uruguay take on Japan in Sapporo while Paraguay meet Saudi Arabia in Nyon, Switzerland.

Paraguay currently lead the South American World Cup qualifying standings and midfielder Jonathan Santana is hoping they can maintain their good form against the Middle East nation.

The Wolfsburg star told www.teledeportes.com.py: 'We must defend the prestigious reputation that Paraguay has gained.

'This friendly is useful to keep the shape, play together and learn what the coach (Gerardo Martino) wants from us.'

Jorge Valdivia returns from a 10-match ban, handed down after an incident before Chile's Copa America quarter-final against Brazil last year, when Marcelo Bielsa's men meet Turkey in Izmit.

'I am very happy to be here,' said Valdivia, who recently joined Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

'I hope this is not the last time I am selected.

'What happened in Venezuela is in the past. This is my return to the national team. I'm glad to know my team-mates count on me and I count on them.'

Venezuela host Syria in Puerto La Cruz while Bolivia take on Panama in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

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