Just nine weeks before Ecuador were due to face Qatar in the opening game of the World Cup finals, the South Americans finally received the news they had been waiting for.
Ecuador had finished fourth in the Conmebol qualification group to qualify for the finals behind table-topping Brazil, second-placed Argentina and Uruguay in third.
But a shadow had been hanging over their success after Ecuador were accused of fielding an ineligible player during the qualifiers.
Chile and Peru, the top candidates to replace Ecuador in the tournament, had claimed that defender Byron Castillo was born in Colombia, not Ecuador, and therefore should not have been allowed to play. The right-back had appeared in eight of their 18 qualifiers.
In June, after Chile had launched the initial accusation, Fifa’s disciplinary committee cleared Ecuador of wrongdoing. Peru then joined Chile in an appeal against the verdict.
Finally, on September 16, Fifa’s appeal committee ruled that, “on the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality” and therefore eligible to represent the country. Ecuador were clear to play.
In Qatar, they were drawn in Group A alongside Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands.
In the gallery above, you can see how Ecuador qualified for the finals that kick off on November 20. To view the next image, click on the arrows or just swipe if on a mobile device.
Ecuador's fixtures in Qatar
November 20 Qatar v Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium (8pm)
November 25 Netherlands v Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium (8pm)
November 29 Ecuador v Senegal – Khalifa International Stadium (7pm)