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Ecuador leave out Castillo in last-named World Cup squad

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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s was the last squad to be known among the 32 in the World Cup, and its coach Gustavo Alfaro did not include a player who put the team’s presence in the tournament in doubt.

Alfaro announced his squad on Monday evening, close to the deadline, and did not include defender Byron Castillo despite all the legal troubles Ecuador soccer authorities went through since they qualified in March.

Chile and Peru argued before sporting authorities that Castillo was actually Colombian and illegally played several World Cup qualifiers. The claim was rejected and Ecuador was allowed to feature in Group A with hosts Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands.

Ecuador and Qatar will open the tournament on Sunday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last week that Ecuador will lose three points before the start of South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup due to the use of false information on Castillo’s birthday and birthplace in its proceedings to grant him a passport.

Alfaro called up striker Kevin Rodríguez, who plays in Ecuador’s second division.

Ecuador is in the World Cup for the fourth time, all in this century.

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Ecuador:

Goalkeepers: Moisés Ramírez (Independiente del Valle), Alexander Domínguez (Liga de Quito), Hernán Galíndez (Aucas).

Defenders: Piero Hincapié (Bayer Leverkusen), Robert Arboleda (Sao Paulo), Pervis Estupiñán (Brighton), Angelo Preciado (Genk), Jackson Porozo (Troyes), Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders), Diego Palacios (Los Angeles), Félix Torres (Santos Laguna), William Pacho (Royal Antwerp).

Midfielders: Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg), José Cifuentes, Jhegson Méndez (Los Angeles), Moisés Caicedo (Brighton), Jeremy Sarmiento (Brighton), Alan Franco (Talleres), Ángel Mena (León), Ayrton Preciado (Santos), Gonzalo Plata (Valladolid), Romario Ibarra (Pachuca).

Forwards: Djorkaeff Reasco (Newell’s Old Boys), Énner Valencia (Fenerbahçe), Kevin Rodríguez (Imbabura), Michael Estrada (Cruz Azul).

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup


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