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The Primera Categoría Serie B, abbreviated as Serie B or Primera B, is a professional football league in Ecuador. It is in the second stage of the Ecuadorian football league. It is contested by twelve clubs and operates a promotion and relegation system in the top division of Serie A and the lowest division of the Segunda Categoría. The season lasts from February to December in two stages. For sponsorship reasons it is called Copa Pilsener Serie B.
Series B has existed since 1971 and has been held annually since then (except for 1973 and 1983-88). Often there are two tournaments a year. The top team at the end of the tournament is not champion but winner. The number of teams that have been promoted or relegated has changed over the years as the format, as in Series A, often changes seasonally. The 2010 season was divided into two stages, each with identical double-round-robin format. The team with the most points at the end of both stages is the winner. The winner and the runner-up will be promoted to Serie A for the following season, while the two teams with the fewest points will be relegated to the Segunda Categoría at the end of the season.
Thirty different clubs have won Serie B, but only twelve have won them several times. The most successful team and current champion is Técnico Universitario, who won his sixth title in 2017.
Competitive footballing nations in South America. Despite the irregularities in the past, Ecuador has become a serious South American competitor in recent years.
The invitation to participate in the first FIFA World Cup 1930 in Uruguay was rejected. Their first participation in a World Cup qualifying campaign took place in 1962 and was eventually beaten by Argentina in two games. However, qualifying in 1966 was crucial for the team, considered one of Ecuador's best teams, against host and third place finishers from 1962, Chile, and a weakened Colombian team from 1962. Ecuador, with stars such as Washington Muñoz, Alberto Spencer, Carlos Alberto Raffo, Enrique Raymondi and Jorge Bolaños, forced a stinging in Peru before Chile retired. Other talented players who have represented Ecuador are José Villafuerte in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1998 World Cup qualifying, the format for qualifying in CONMEBOL was changed to a home and away league system. This difference had a huge impact on Ecuador's performance as they recorded several important home victories over the course of the season. In the end, they reached a very respectable sixth place, just below Peru and Chile (who qualified for goal difference). The campaign also saw the emergence of several players such as Agustín Delgado, Álex Aguinaga, Iván Hurtado, Ulises de la Cruz and Iván Kaviedes, who set the scene for Ecuador's achievements over the next decade.
This was until the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament in South Korea and Japan the next time they had appeared in a final. Led by Colombian-born coach Hernán Darío Gómez, they finished second to Argentina and one point ahead of Brazil, which won the World Cup. Agustín Delgado ended the qualifying session with 9 goals, with Hernán Crespo of Argentina as the top scorer. They were drawn to Group G with Italy, Mexico and Croatia. Although eliminated in the group stage, they scored a 1-0 victory over Croatia, which had finished third in the previous World Cup.
A disappointing performance at the Copa América 2004 in Peru led to the resignation of Gómez, who was replaced by another Colombian, Luis Fernando Suárez. He successfully guided them through the final stages of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying process and finished third to reach the final. In Germany, they were drafted into Group A with the hosts Poland and Costa Rica. Victories over Poland and Costa Rica qualified La Tri for the first time for the knockout round.
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