Ecuador play for late team-mate, last 16 spot

Last updated 08:50 25/06/2014
Reinaldo Rueda
TRIBUTE: Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda says the late Cristian Benitez's "image and memory are alive inside of us".

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Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda says he hasn't brought up the name recently, but his team knows who they are playing for - their late team-mate Christian Benitez. 

There's also a spot in the final 16 of the World Cup on the line in tomorrow's match against France. 

Benitez died almost a year ago of heart failure, a day after playing for his Qatari club. He was the team's star striker, and his No 11 shirt has been retired by the national federation. 

Rueda says ''his image and memory are alive inside of us.'' Ecuador need a victory to guarantee a place in the second round.

''La Tri'' were knocked out by England in the round of 16 in 2006 in their only previous appearance.

 Seven Latin American teams are already into the knockout stage. 

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- AP

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