|2006 Ecuador National Team|
As it stands entering Tuesday's action, Brazil is in as the host country. Then, there are the countries that have really shined brightest during the qualification process and have already secured their berths: Argentina, Columbia and the U.S.
Costa Rica has guaranteed their reservations for Brazil, as well.
This leaves a few more spots for countries who will probably not advance past group play at the World Cup, anyways. But, for citizens, residents and those who come from Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay (click here for match times), Honduras, Panama and Mexico (click here for match times), Tuesday means everything.
Realistically, these teams have no chance of winning the World Cup. However, participating on the world's stage and getting the chance to give their country and fans the glory for one day or more during World Cup is well worth it.
I personally experienced this emotion in the lead up to World Cup/2006 while living in Ecuador (I was living with my wife and her family, at the time). In the years 2004 and 2005 (I was there from early-mid 2004 to middle-late 2005), leading up to World Cup, the qualifying was enthralling and incredibly thrilling to watch. Ecuador was the third best in South America during the process, behind Argentina and Brazil. They even beat both Argentina and Brazil at home.
During World Cup 2006, I watched my other home country, Ecuador (I have residence status there because of my wife), beat Poland and Costa Rica to make it out of group into the round of 16 to face England. It was a great show and Ecuador had its chances to beat England. David Beckham, of all people, won the game for England, 1-0, on a set play free kick.
I will be watching Tuesday for sure to cheer on Ecuador as they face off against Chile. The only challenge will be finding the right sports bar/restaurant with the channel and a Tv to watch it on. This is not always a given when trying to watch Ecuador here in the States.