Albiceleste and Ecuador are scheduled to contest for the last ticket to the semifinal in Copa America this year. Lionel Messi and Co obviously finished on the top of group A, while Ecuador could only sit on the fourth in group B. Gustavo Alfaro’s men’s form has been degrading since this summer after their stunning display in the first four outings of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. They need to return to their winning ways if they do not want to miss the chance for playing at the semifinal as well as beating Argentina.
Both teams’ previous games
Argentina hammered Bolivia 4-1 in the final game of the group stage. Messi netted a brace, preceded by his assist for Papu Gomez and the goal galore was wrapped up by Lautaro Martinez’s goal after Bolivia scored a lifeline through Edwin Saavedra. That game marked Messi’s all-time international caps as well as Albiceleste’s top scorer with 75 goals in 148 appearances.
Meanwhile, Ecuador surprisingly managed to hold the host in a 1-1 draw. They conceded first as Eder Militao’s header found the back of the net but after the interval, Angel Mena tucked it away to make it even. Such result avoided them from going down at the bottom of the table.
Lionel Scaloni seems to have found his preferred line up in 4-3-2-1 formation with the transition to 4-3-1-2 or 4-4-2 if necessary. Messi is still the anchorman with three goals and two assists in the competition. The Barcelona skipper would be accompanied by Papu Gomez who can be deployed as the inverted right winger. At the front, Lautaro Martinez shall get the nod again and expected to perform better if the Inter Milan man’s form is not irreplaceable. The senior Sergio Aguero, Angel Correa and Joaquin Correa are ready to take his place in the starting XI.
Gustavo Alfaro is likely to be in favour of the same tactical approach relying on pressing in 4-4-2 formation. Michael Estrada and Enner Valencia will be the frontmen supported by Moises Caicedo and Angel Mena on the second line.
Players to watch
Superstar Lionel Messi is still the main man in Albiceletste’. He is the current top scorer with three goals and two assists so far. Some other vital figures in the squad are Papu Gomez with his two goals, Rodrigo de Paul and Christian Romero.
Ecuador’s key men are Santos Laguna man Eduar Preciado who has notched up two goals and Villareal’s Pervis Estupinan. Some other potential names with vital roles in the future are Sporting Lisbon’s Gonzalo Plata, the promising youngster Moises Caicedo and Angel Mena.
Argentina vs Ecuador Possible result
On the paper, Scaloni’s men should have no difficulty to secure a victory here. However, Pervis Estupinan and Co still have the potential to stumble them. Argentina’s solid defence in the first three games of the tournament shall be displayed again plus maintaining their impressive attack. They shall come out as a winner eventually, with one or maximum two-goal difference.
Albiceleste is surely the clear favourite here. They are backed to win at -205. The value for a draw is at +320, whereas Ecuador’s odds to win are only at +750.