Ecuador qualify for the World Cup finals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ecuador qualify for their first World Cup finals on Wednesday after securing a 1-1 draw at home to Uruguay in the South American qualifying group.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Ecuador reached the World Cup finals for the first time in their history on Wednesday after securing a 1-1 draw at home to Uruguay in the South American qualifying group. An equalizing goal from Ivan Kaviedes with seventeen minutes remaining cancelled out a Nicolas Olivera penalty for Uruguay just before half time. Ecuador now cannot finish outside the top four qualification places in the 10-team group and will take their place among soccer's elite next year in Japan and South Korea. Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia will have to fight it out for the last automatic qualification and play-off place in the last round of matches in the group. Ecuador's Raul Guerron with a great shot from as far out as his own half but the Uruguay keeper pulled off a great save. Ivan Hurtado tested the Uruguay keeper but he was up to the task this time as well as the game remained goal less till just before half time. Uruguay however were handed the lead after Nicolas Olivera was fouled in the area. The referee having little trouble pointing to the spot. And Olivera converted the penalty as Uruguay took the lead against the run of play. The striker then showing off some of his dancing skills... Ecuador brought on playmaker Alex Aguinaga with half an hour to go and it immediately produced dividends. Time was running out for the home side, and with seventeen minutes left Aguinaga delivered a perfect cross that was headed home by Kaviedes as Ecuador got the equalizer and confirmed their placed in the World Cup Finals for the first time. Ecuador join Argentina from the South American group in the World Cup. The one all draw also confirmed Paraguay's place in South Korea and Japan, as Uruguay cannot go past them with just one more game left. But Uruguay still have a chance of automatic qualification if Brazil loses.

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