Argentina vs Ecuador Match Analysis & Prediction
08/09/2023 3:00 am
World Champions Argentina start the defence of their World Cup title with a home qualifier against Ecuador on Friday morning.
Ecuador also reached the finals in Qatar and will be confident of qualifying for another tournament given that CONMEBOL now have six automatic spots with an additional playoff place on top.
Saudi Arabia ended Argentina’s phenomenal 36-game unbeaten run in their group opener in Qatar, a streak which saw them go unbeaten throughout a qualifying section for the first time since its format changed for the 1998 World Cup.
However since that surprise defeat, Argentina have won all 10 matches they have played, including the subsequent six games at the World Cup, and four friendlies since.
Panama, Curacao, Australia and Indonesia were all beaten to nil in those friendlies, with 13 goals scored, but this will be a much tougher test.
The expanded World Cup means qualification should be much more comfortable in general for Argentina, with no repeat of their close shave in 2018 qualifying to be expected when they only secured a spot on the final day, when they were joint-second lowest scorers on the continent.
With the finals still three years away, it is tough to tell whether Lionel Messi will stick around for a sixth World Cup, but he is still in the squad and has been showing sensational form at Inter Miami over the summer.
Ecuador have navigated South American qualification consummately in recent years, reaching four of the last six World Cups despite not having history as one of the elite footballing nations on the continent.
Their first finals appearance was in South Korea and Japan back in 2002, with 2010 and 2018 being the only years since the turn of the millennium where they have failed to qualify.
The 2022 World Cup saw Ecuador beat hosts Qatar in the tournament opener, but they froze against Senegal in the group decider and crashed out sooner than hoped.
In the 30 matches they have played in the Copa America since 1999, Ecuador have won just three times and even reached the quarter-finals without winning a match in 2021.
Argentina vs. Ecuador Head to head
In the 20 previous meetings between these two teams, Argentina have claimed 11 victories while Ecuador have won three, and they have drawn in six. Ecuador have scored 16 goals and conceded 38 in the process.
11/10/2017Ecuador1Argentina3CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
09/10/2020Argentina1Ecuador0CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
04/07/2021Argentina3Ecuador0CONMEBOL Copa America
30/03/2022Ecoador1Argentina1CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers
Argentina Team News
Messi is set to make his 176th cap for Argentina, as Lionel Scaloni could name the exact same lineup which started the World Cup final against France.
Emi Buendia and Paulo Dybala are the most notable injury absentees from the squad, but Lisandro Martinez is in the squad despite going off early for Manchester United at the weekend.
Argentina's Last 5 Matches
18/12/2022Argentina(P)3France3FIFA World Cup
Ecuador Team News
The only selection up for debate for Ecuador is between the posts, and Hernan Galindez may get the nod.
Galindez is battling for a spot with fellow 36-year-old Alexander Dominguez, one of just two players still in the side from the squad which went to the 2014 World Cup.
Ecuador's Last 5 Matches
29/11/2022Ecuador1Senegal2FIFA World Cup
Argentina vs. Ecuador: Odds and Predictions
1000% Super Multi Bonus
Up to 10 times (1000%) larger winnings on bets placed during Happy HourCLAIM BONUS