While the vanquished Costa Ricans hung their heads in bewilderment, Ivan Kaviedes celebrated his late goal for Ecuador by pulling a Spiderman mask in his team's yellow colour from his shorts and stretched it over his head. His injury-time goal wrapped up a 3-0 victory that put Ecuador in the second round of the World Cup for the first time.
His masked-man stunt was a tribute to Otilino Tenorio, a team-mate killed in a car crash three days after he played for his country in a friendly last year. "He is a partner, a friend, a brother who was with us and is a part of us," Kaviedes said. "He was with us a long, long time, and he transferred to us this joy that was very contagious." Tenorio, whose nickname was "Spiderman", used to pull the mask from his shorts during his goal celebrations. "We had a feeling that he was present with us," said Carlos Tenorio, who is not related.
Tenorio and Agustin Delgado scored their second goals of the tournament before Kaviedes rounded off the win. Ecuador join Germany from Group A in the second phase and will meet one of the top two teams from England's group.
Before then, Ecuador face Germany on Tuesday, needing only a draw to claim first place. "We're now thinking about being group leaders, we think about winning every game," Delgado said. "We want to win the next game, even though we're in the second round. I think it'll be the most beautiful game to play, even more so because we already advanced."
Ecuador, who are competing in their second World Cup finals, dominated the opening half against a toothless Costa Rica. They were in charge from the eighth minute, when Tenorio opened the scoring.Los Ticos did show some signs of revival after the break but their attempts to salvage their hopes of remaining in the tournament were shattered with Delgado's 54th-minute goal.
Costa Rica would have got back in the game in the 58th minute had Ecuador goalkeeper Cristian Mora not made a spectacular save from Mauricio Solis' stinging drive. Shortly after the hour, substitute Kaviedes had a goal disallowed for a clear offside but he was to make his mark just before the final whistle.
The Ecuador coach, Luis Suarez, praised his side's qualification to the second phase of the World Cup as historic. His side had gained plenty of confidence in their 2-0 win against Poland and they proved to be the most effective side again here.
"Today is a very important day for Ecuador, a historic day," said the Colombian-born Suarez. Despite the seven-hour time difference, fans in Quito had already poured on to the streets to get the fiesta started early in the morning. "It's a day of celebration for Ecuador," added Suarez.
Ecuador: Mora (LDU Quito); De la Cruz (Aston Villa), Reasco (LDU Quito), Espinoza (LDU Quito), Hurtado (Al Arabi); Castillo (El Nacional), Valencia (Recreativo Huelva), Edwin Tenorio (Barcelona) Mendez (LDU Quito); Carlos Tenorio (Al Sadd), Delgado (LDU Quito)
Substitutes used: Kaviedes (Argentinos), for Carlos Tenorio, 45; Guagua (El Nacional) for Espinoza, 68); Urrutia (LDU Quito) for Valencia, 73)
Costa Rica: Porras (Saprissa); Gonzalez (Herediano), Umana (Brujas), Wallace (Alajuelense), Marin (Alajuelense); Fonseca (Cartagines), Centeno (Saprissa), Solis (Comunicaciones), Sequeira (Salt Lake City); Wanchope (Herediano), Gomez (Saprissa).
Substitutes used: Saborio (Saprissa) for Fonseca, 28; Hernandez (Alajuelense) for Gonzalez, 56; Bernard (Puntarenas) for Centeno, 84.
Booked: Ecuador: Castillo, De la Cruz, Mora. Costa Rica: Marin, Solis.
Referee: Coffi Codjia (Benin).
A threat to England? The threat posed by Ecuador
They had never played a competitive game in Europe, and all their wins in qualifying came at altitude. In the Copa America they have never finished higher than fourth (1993, on home ground), but Ecuador have been a growing force ever since South America adopted the current marathon format of World Cup qualification.
Under charismatic Colombian coach Luiz Fernando Suarez Ecuador have moved well away from their old slow build up style. Instead they use a pair of strong markers to close down the middle of the field, look to break swiftly down the flanks and supply their burly strikers. And with attacking left-back Ambrosi on the bench the team are tilted towards the right - all five of their goals so far have come from balls played in from that flank. Their other attacking weapon is the long shots of midfielders Mendez and Valencia.
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