Preview: Argentina vs. Ecuador – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Argentina vs. Ecuador – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s friendly clash between Argentina and Ecuador, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Argentina will play the first of two Copa America warm-up matches when they face Ecuador in Sunday’s friendly in Chicago.

The 2022 World Cup winners will be looking to claim a fourth consecutive victory, while La Tri will try to return to winning ways after losing to Italy in their most recent outing in March.

Match preview

© Reuters

Argentina are preparing to compete in a major tournament since they prevailed in a penalty shootout to beat France in the World Cup final in December 2022.

Since lifting football’s most-coveted trophy, La Albiceleste have gone on to claim 11 victories in 12 matches, including five wins in their six 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Their only defeat in that period took place in November when they fell to a 2-0 home defeat against Marcelo Bielsa‘s Uruguay.

Lionel Scaloni‘s side ultimately bounced back with a 1-0 win over their rivals Brazil, before beginning 2024 with consecutive victories in March’s friendlies with El Salvador and Costa Rica.

They will hope to claim a couple more victories in their next two outings against Ecuador and Guatemala as they look to build momentum ahead of the Copa America in the USA.

After winning the 2021 tournament, Argentina will begin their defence against Canada on June 20, before they complete the group stage with games against Chile and Peru.

Argentina's Rodrigo De Paul in action with Ecuador's William Pacho on September 7, 2023© Reuters

Ecuador have experienced a solid start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, with their six matches producing three wins, two draws and one defeat.

However, that sole loss did take place in their most recent meeting with Argentina in June 2023 when Lionel Messi‘s 78th-minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides.

After putting their qualifying campaign on hold, Ecuador experienced mixed fortunes in their two friendly encounters that took place during the March international window.

El Tri dispatched Guatemala via a 2-0 scoreline, before they fell to a 2-0 defeat in their clash with reigning European champions Italy.

Despite seeing his side fall short against the Azzurri, Felix Sanchez can be encouraged by the fact his team have lost just two of their previous 11 matches.

The Ecuador boss will hope his squad can produce a few more strong performances in their Copa America warm-up games against Argentina, Bolivia and Honduras.

Argentina friendly form:

Argentina form (all competitions):

Ecuador friendly form:

Ecuador form (all competitions):

Team News

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni reacts on October 13, 2023© Reuters

There is a belief that Scaloni could give playing time to some fringe members of the squad, with the manager looking to evaluate his options before cutting three players from the selection.

Lisandro Martinez could be given the chance to start after returning from injury to feature in Man United’s final three matches of the season.

There could also be starting opportunities for the likes of Gonzalo Montiel, Marcos Acuna, Guido Rodriguez and Alejandro Garnacho.

Messi is set to make his first international appearance of 2024 after Argentina’s star man was forced to miss the March international fixtures due to injury.

Meanwhile, Ecuador are unable to call upon Brighton & Hove Albion left-back Pervis Estupinan, who will miss the Copa America due to an ankle problem

Fresh from winning the Bundesliga title, Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie set to line up in a back three alongside William Pacho and Felix Torres.

Ecuador’s all-time leading goalscorer Enner Valencia will attempt to add to his 40-goal international tally when he features against the world champions.

Argentina possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Montiel, Pezzella, Li Martinez, Acuna; Rodriguez, Mac Allister, Lo Celso; Messi, Garnacho, La Martinez

Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Dominguez; Pacho, Torres, Hincapie; Preciado, Caicedo, Ortiz, Gruezo, Sarmiento; Paez, Valencia

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We say: Argentina 2-1 Ecuador

Although Argentina are set to name an untried lineup, their starting XI will still boast an array of talent, and we think they will ultimately do enough to edge out Ecuador to claim a fourth consecutive victory.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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