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Copa America: Brazil vs Ecuador Preview
Brazil and Ecuador clash in the 2016 edition of the Copa America on Sunday the fifth of June.
The 2016 Copa America, the 100th-anniversary edition of the world’s oldest international soccer tournament, will reignite Brazil and Ecuador’s regional rivalry on Sunday morning. On one side, you have the most successful soccer nation in the world and on the other; you have a team that is on the rise. This is a game between two different soccer philosophies and histories. Brazil have won all there is to win in international soccer while the Ecuadorians are relatively newcomers. Brazil will be using this game to get over their World Cup woes and make a fresh start under the new coach, Dunga, and his new-look team. Ecuador has been known to produce some very good players over the years and have now started to realize their true potential.
Brazil v Ecuador | Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California | Sunday 5 June | 04:00
To Win Match
Brazil 8/10 | Draw 49/20 | Ecuador 7/2
Brazil are one of the most decorated teams in world football with a reputation that speaks for itself. It’s going to be fascinating to see just how Brazil approach the Copa America, with the nation’s sporting focus elsewhere this summer.
Indeed, the 2016 Olympics will be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. It’s a competition which the Selecao take very seriously. And that’s something which has been reflected in the squad named by Dunga for the Centenario, which has a few glaring omissions. The most notable of which is team captain Neymar, immediately implying that a gold medal in the Olympics—which the Barcelona man will play in—is the main priority this summer.
Additionally, the Paris Saint-Germain duo of David Luiz and Thiago Silva have also been left out, as well as Real Madrid left-back Marcelo, what’s left is a relatively inexperienced team featuring 14 players with fewer than 10 international caps.
While this lack of experience and quality will be a impediment to Brazil, it gives the squad for this tournament a refreshing feel and a chance for some players who have been on the fringes of the national team set-up to make a mark at the Centenario.
Attackers like Willian, Kaka and Philippe Coutinho will be keen to assume the role of talisman. The squad will also want to make amends after their disappointing showing in the competition last year. A loss to Colombia, in which Neymar was sent off, seemed to sap the life out of these players, who went on to lose to Paraguay on penalties in the quarter-final. Looking at their opponents in the group stages, there’s no excuse for not replicating that showing, at least.
An unfamiliar squad could easily toil in the knockout stages, especially with so many other nations going all out for victory. Yet these players could be galvanised by the chance to make a name for themselves. Even without a number of key players, Dunga still has an abundance of talent at his disposal.
Ecuador have impressed plenty with their blistering beginning to the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and have the potential to be a wildcard outfit in the United States. The previous edition was hugely disappointing for La Tri. Losing 3-2 to Bolivia in the tournament was a major embarrassment for the team, as they failed to make it beyond the group. Yet despite these tribulations, the association decided to stick with Gustavo Quinteros, who only took the job on in January 2015.
It’s a decision which has been vindicated. Ecuador has climbed into the top 12 in the FIFA rankings for the first time in its history and sits atop the table in COMNEBOL World Cup qualifying after six games, with wins over Argentina and Uruguay. Suddenly, this is a team performing with panache.
There are some extremely talented players at Quinteros’ disposal too.
After missing out on the last tournament, Antonio Valencia is fit once again. The Manchester United man along with Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero can dazzle defenders on the flanks, while the forward pairing of Enner Valencia and Felipe Caicedo are awkward for any defence.
What we will see from Ecuador is a team who play with industry, endeavor and plenty of attacking variety. Keeping the door bolted at the other end may prove tricky for the South Americans, but with plenty of positivity and determination in their ranks at the moment, La Tri might just upset the applecart against their favoured opponents.
Verdict: Ecuador Win/Draw Double Chance 19/20
Brazil’s squad selection suggests they have one eye on the Olympics, so this could be the perfect opportunity for Ecuador to make a bright start to the competition. Their record against Brazil doesn’t bode well for their chances, but Ecuador have a more experienced team and should be backed on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 19/20.