QUITO - Brazil will attempt to score their first World Cup qualifying goal in Ecuador when the teams meet at high altitude in Quito on Sunday. The five-times world champions, second in the 10-team South American group, have a dismal record in the Andean country, having failed to hit the target in three previous qualifying visits. A 0-0 draw in tropical Guayaquil in 1993 was followed by 1-0 defeats in Quito in 2001 and again in 2004. Coach Dunga said the chance to improve Brazil's poor record in Ecuador was an added incentive. "Every time there is a taboo to be broken or something to be conquered, it adds a little extra," he said. "We're going to play to win and gain points to help us qualify. It's always good to know the statistics, but we have to do our job." Although Brazil are second in the 10-team South American group and well-placed to qualify, they are six points adrift of leaders Paraguay and have looked far from impressive in the qualifiers. They have been held 0-0 by Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia in successive home matches and went into the five-month break in the competition at a low ebb last October. Since then, a 6-2 win over Portugal and an impressive 2-0 defeat of Italy in friendlies have lifted the pressure on Dunga. Playmaker Kaka is doubtful with a foot injury and striker Adriano has an ankle problem. Ecuador, who had never played at a World Cup before qualifying in 2002 and 2006, are sixth in the table with 12 points, one behind fifth-placed Uruguay. Key midfielders Edison Mendez and Antonio Valencia have both been passed fit for the game which is crucial to their hopes of a third successive appearance. Ecuador, who have depended heavily on their form in Quito in the past, have already dropped four points in home games and cannot afford another slip-up. The top four teams qualify for South Africa and the fifth plays off with the fourth side from CONCACAF for another place. Coach Sixto Vizuete is in confident mood, having said his team are stronger collectively than Brazil and that their opponents are afraid of playing at altitude. Ecuador: Jose Cevallos; Neicer Reasco, Ivan Hurtado, Giovanny Espinoza, Walter Ayovi; David Quiroz, Segundo Castillo, Edison Mendez, Joffre Guerron; Cristian Benitez, Felipe Caicedo. Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Luisao, Marcelo; Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Kaka, Ronaldinho Gaucho; Robinho, Luis Fabiano. Referee: Carlos Chandia (Chile)
26 March 2009
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