With Brazil coming up next and everyone in the group level at a point apiece, the thought coming into the day was that Ecuador would go all-out against Venezuela in order to earn three points and a decent chance of advancing to the knockout rounds. Brazil's 2-2 draw with Paraguay only made that strategy more likely - a victorious Ecuador would have a two point lead over Brazil and Paraguay with one game to go. With their opposition fairly week, it looked like Ecuador's moment to shine.
Wrong! Wrong wrong wrong. Two hours after kickoff, and it's Venezuela who've put themselves in commanding position with a deserving 1-0 win. Despite a tense finish, where Renny Vega was forced into several good saves, the victors were full value for the points, with Ecuador coming out flatter than flat while Venezuela actually tried to play football, which was nice.
Their intrepid play was rewarded with an absolutely wonderful second-half goal from Cesar Gonzalez, who surged forwards onto a loose ball more than thirty yards out and absolutely wellied a shot into the bottom left corner, with Marcelo Elizaga looking on in disbelief. Did Ecuador roar into life as a result? Of course not, although they had a couple of good chances to equalise before Walter Cordero blew for full time.
The statistics tell a stunning story - seven Venezuela corners to Ecuador's one and thirteen shots to six from a team that should have been decidedly inferior. As the game ended, Ecuador's players ambled around looking stunned while Venezuela and the fans celebrated like they'd just won the trophy. Considering their previous record - it was their first win in the tournament since 2007 - they had good reason to.