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International Eagles: Ivan Kaviedes - Ecuadorian Hero

6 July 2018

As the World Cup continues, so does our look at past Palace players who have had golden moments for their countries. Today, we look back at a striker who is lauded in Ecuador after starring in two World Cups.

Some Eagles supporters may be forgiven for not remembering Ivan Kaviedes in red and blue stripes – after all he only made six appearances for the club during the 2004/05 season. However, mention his name in Ecuador and you’re sure to receive a much more positive response.

Having shot to fame in his homeland after rattling in 48 goals in 57 games for Emelec, he was handed his international debut in 1998 and eventually followed the well-trodden path from South America to Europe. His club career would be extremely nomadic, taking him to Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal and Argentina, as well as his brief spell at Palace. "He is an icon in Ecuadorian football and an outstanding footballer,” said manager Iain Dowie upon his arrival.

The reason for Kaviedes’ lofty standing in a small north-western corner of South America is simple. Back in 2001, with Ecuador desperately needing a goal at home to Uruguay to send them to their first ever World Cup, the enigmatic striker provided it when he headed in a cross to spark wild scenes in Quito, and ensure his place in his country’s footballing folklore.

He would appear twice at the tournament in South Korea and Japan without getting on the scoresheet as Ecuador were eliminated in the group stages, but his big moment on the world stage would eventually arrive four years later in Germany.

His tournament started auspiciously when he appeared as a substitute in a 2-0 win against Poland, but six days later he came on at half-time against Costa Rica and made a bigger impact. In the final minute with his team 2-0 ahead, Kaviedes hooked home a ball from the right to score his first World Cup goal and ensure his team’s spot in the knockout stages.

The goal also provided him with the chance to provide a poignant moment. The ball had barely rippled the back of the net when the striker reached into his shorts and pulled out a Spiderman mask decked in Ecuadorian colours. Pulling it over his head and raising his hands to the sky, he recreated the trademark celebration of his former international strike-partner Otilino Tenorio, who had tragically been killed in a car accident the previous year. "Otilino is accompanying us from heaven”, he said post-match.

A David Beckham free-kick would eventually eliminate Ecuador from the competition in the last-16, which marks the furthest they have ever gone in a World Cup. Kaviedes meanwhile would hop from club to club before ending his international career in 2012 after 57 caps and 17 goals, including two of the most famous strikes in Ecuadorian football history.

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