Where: Monumental, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaWhen: Friday, September 8, 2 AM CET
In its first official game following the World Cup finals, Argentina returns home to start its title defense against Ecuador. Gauchos have to go through the South American qualifiers in order to reach the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and their quest begins against a very nasty Ecuadorian unit. Messi and the boys are favorites here, yet they won’t take that for granted. Championship hangover is very common in these cases, but the No.10 is aware of that, and he won’t allow his teammates to relax and underestimate the rivals.
Argentina vs. Ecuador Preview
The world champs played four games following the World Cup finals, winning each. They were all friendly contests, but still, the way Argentina solved its rivals was impressive. They were better than Panama, Curacao, Australia, and Indonesia.
Lionel Scaloni’s unit scored 13 goals in total and allowed none on the other side. The rock-solid defense is the foundation of the team. Without it, we are pretty sure that Messi wouldn’t lift the World Cup title.
Other than that, the team is very experienced and tactically equipped, which we saw in Qatar. Each player knows his role, and despite everyone thinking they work for Messi, the situation isn’t quite like that.
El Tri was in a fantastic position to advance to the knockout stage in Qatar, but the loss to Senegal ruined everything. After an easy win over the hosts and a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands, this team ruined everything in the most important game of the entire generation.
Ecuadorians forgot all that and immediately began preparing for future challenges. In three friendly games, they posted three wins. The first was over Australia, 0-1, then against Bolivia, 1-0, and eventually vs. Costa Rica, 1-3.
They have an extremely physical team, with Moises Caicedo leading the midfield and Enenr Valencia in the attack. All of their players are fantastic when it comes to stamina and power, making this team incredibly tough to compete with.
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Argentina and Ecuador Possible Lineups
Argentina: Martinez; Molina, Otamendi, Tagliafico, Acuna; Palacios, Paredes, Lo Celso; Ocampos, Alvarez, Messi
Ecuador: Dominguez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Gruezo, Caicedo, Cifuentes; Plata, Valencia, Ibarra
Argentina vs. Ecuador Head to Head
Ecuador didn’t triumph against Argentina in the past five events, with them losing on four occasions and managing to post only one draw. That was in the most recent encounter, 1-1, in the previous World Cup qualifiers in Quito. Meanwhile, the recent three meetings in Argentina saw the hosts winning all, with a combined goal difference of 10-1.
Argentina vs. Ecuador Predictions
Argentinians don’t lose at home. Under Scaloni, that didn’t and won’t happen any time soon, so the logical pick here is for them to win.
Our verdict: Argentina wins
Argentina versus Ecuador Odds
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