BRAZIL VS ECUADOR
Brazil host Ecuador on the final matchday for the North Zone. While the Selecao are already through to the next stage as group winners, their opponents need to avoid a heavy defeat.
Os artilheiros da vitória da #SeleçãoBrasileira diante da Colômbia! 💪🇧🇷
📸: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF pic.twitter.com/g3ChvkxBKR
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) June 24, 2021
Tite’s side have been in tremendous form all throughout the tournament as many had thought. They have already scored nine goals while conceding just one. That came in their last match against Colombia, where the team netted a winner in the ninth minute of injury time.
With a bevvy of stars at their disposal and expectations sky high of defending their 2019 crown, Brazil look well set to end their group stage having taken maximum points.
Their opponents are not in such great shape. Gustavo Alfaro’s men sit in the final qualifying position with just two points from their three matches. Their patchy defence has been a problem, having conceded five times already, twice in the second half against Peru.
Against Brazil, they can ill-afford to be this shaky at the back given the fact that goal difference can be a deciding factor. Ecuador have a golden chance to pull off a major upset here if they can stifle the creative talents of the famed Brazilian team.
Aside from the continued absence of Atletico Madrid defender Felipe, there are no fresh injuries to the Brazil squad.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: Ederson; Danilo, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Everton Ribeiro, Casemiro, Fabinho, Richarlison; Neymar, Roberto Firmino
Ecuador have a fully fit squad to choose from and they will be keen to put their strongest team in this crunch clash.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: Galindez; Preciado, Arboleda, Hincapie, Estupinan; Franco, Mendez, Caicedo, Preciado; Dias; Estrada
For the Selecao, the clear danger once again will be posed by Neymar Jr. The PSG forward has been instrumental in his side’s attacks across the three games, notching up two goals and two assists.
Furthermore, he has also created the most number of big chances (7) and will look to lead Brazil to another win against Ecuador. His main threat lies in carrying the ball supremely well and evading the challenges of covering defenders.
Neymar has now surpassed Pele for most assists with the Brazilian national team. 48 in 108 games! 👏
Up next: Pele's goal record… 👀 pic.twitter.com/KyVNxV2A8N
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) June 24, 2021
Due to this, Neymar draws a lot of attention to himself which allows other players to attack at goal. Given his stature as one of the world’s best, no doubt he will be marked heavily. However, Alfaro knows he has to be careful in how he deals with the forward in the danger areas.
Ecuador will hope to have their own ace in attack to score the goals required. Eduar Preciado has already scored twice in the tournament. Playing on the left-wing, he has also averaged a passing accuracy of more than 80% which will be key in taking the game to the Brazilians. He will be up against right-back Danilo and the Juventus defender will have to aware of his bearings.
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 23, 2021
Known for joining attacks often, Preciado will pose a significant challenge in restricting Danilo to focus more on his defensive chores. Additionally, if he can take the ball to the byline and provide crosses, that will be another potential way to scoring. Tite will know better than to take Preciado lightly, and given that Ecuador really need to win, will be the key man posing the maximum threat.
Brazil look set to defend their Copa crown this year, and over the past three matches, there has been nothing to suggest otherwise. Having won comfortably except in their outing against Colombia, Tite will look to wrap the group stage with a win. For Ecuador, the task is clear but tough. Win and qualify, which will be an uphill task against such quality. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for the Selecao.