Ecuador and Peru are not as good as the Brazils, Argentinas and Uruguays of the world. They are not among the world's elite. However, they're not basement dwellers either. Both teams have racked up wins in the early going in CONMEBOL World Cup 2014 qualifying, and both were respectable in Copa America. A few of their players play for big teams, while most are solid professionals in North and South America. They face off on Tuesday, and three points could be huge for either team if they manage to win.
Questions still linger about how good these teams really are. The same can be said for most of CONMEBOL, but the range of possible finishes for both teams is massive. Could either be the third best team in this tournament? Could either finish bottom? Both seem a bit extreme in the cases of both Ecuador and Peru, but not outside the realm of possibility. Early in the process, these two are very much World Cup bubble teams.
Peru are odd in that they have become largely dependent on a player who is more or less irrelevant for his club. Paolo Guerrero scored twice in Peru's win over Paraguay and won the golden boot at the Copa America, but he hardly plays for Hamburg. He's supported by two forward-thinking players who are very important to their club teams, Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan. They make up a formidable attack, but the pieces around them are questionable.
Ecuador's best known player is Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, but the talent around him is very solid, despite being largely unknown outside of the Americas. The domestic and Mexican-based talent on their roster is high quality. Rubin Kazan's Christian Noboa is also an excellent player, providing a bit of a creative spark on a physical counter-attacking team, both for his club and Ecuador.
Ecuador vs. Peru kicks off at 4:00 pm ET. We'll have live coverage of this and every match in our CONMEBOL World Cup 2014 Qualifying, Matchday 4 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.