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Waldrum: Ecuador under less pressure

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ecuador may have somewhat of an advantage playing away from home on Tuesday, when the South American nation battles host T&T in the decider for Concacaf/Comnebol’s final representative at the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Randy Waldrum, head coach of T&T’s senior women’s team, said “They, just like us, will believe they have everything to play for and will fancy their chances.” These words echoed sentiments of his opposite number, Vanessa Arauz, who was less than impressed with Ecuador’s first leg goalless draw at home earlier this month.

Arauz, in a recent report in the Ecuadorian press, said her team was nervous and may have been overawed by the fan support in Quito but promised a much improved showing when Ecuador play away from home. “I think, being the first time we're in a playoff and playing in a stadium (which was) pretty full, (I) felt that the players went pretty nervous,” Arauz said. “Our goal was to go out with a score of 2-0 and give 100 percent. Corrections will be made. We went out with every expectation of winning. (It) was never our intention to settle for a negative result. In Port-of-Spain, (we will) give one hundred percent to bring the classification.”

In a recent interview, however, Arauz suggested that her team may adopt a conservative strategy on Tuesday as “going on the attack from the first minute,” may not be the ideal strategy. “We have to be very smart to not give away the spaces in our court. They are very fast and we can not let them play with freedom,” said Arauz.

Arauz, along with her technical staff and players, arrived at the Piarco International Airport, yesterday afternoon, and then made their way down to their camp at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Invaders Bay, which is directly opposite to the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the venue for Tuesday’s match.

The team travelled with 22 players, but will cut the squad down to 20 players for the match.

The T&T team, meanwhile, trained at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday and will return today. Ahead of Tuesday, the most highly anticipated day in the history of women’s football locally, Waldrum said he has to prepare his team for a very testing encounter. “I think we’ve got to prepare ourselves for a very strong challenge from them on Tuesday,” Waldrum said. “They are maybe, under much less pressure being away from home and they will try to spoil our party.”

T&T will need to avoid conceding a goal. As the first leg ended goalless, Ecuador will qualify for the World Cup with any draw other than a goal-less result. If full time and extra time ends goalless, the match will be decided on a penalty shoot-out. An outright win by any score-line will see T&T advance. Waldrum was expected to name the final 20-player squad last night.


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