September 14, 2017 / 3:39 AM / 10 months ago

Ecuador sack coach Quinteros after poor World Cup qualifying

(Reuters) - Ecuador have sacked coach Gustavo Quinteros and replaced the former Bolivia defender with Argentine Jorge Celico as the team stands on the brink of missing the World Cup in Russia next year.

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup qualifications - Ecuador v Peru - Quito, Ecuador - September 5, 2017. Ecuador's coach Gustavo Quinteros reacts. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia

Ecuador, who lost 2-1 to Peru last week, are eighth in the South American qualifying standings with two rounds remaining.

Football Soccer - Independiente de Medellin v Universidad Catolica - Copa Sudamericana - Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa - 17/08/16. Jorge Celico coach of Universidad Catolica gestures during his match. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

The top four teams qualify for the World Cup while the fifth-placed side can make it to Russia if they win a home-and-away playoff against New Zealand.

Celico is to take over on an interim basis, the Ecuadorian Football Federation said in a statement on Wednesday.

His first responsibility will be to prepare the team for the final two qualifiers against Chile in Santiago and Argentina at home in Quito next month.

Ecuador can still qualify for next year’s tournament in Russia if they win both matches and other results go their way.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom

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