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A draw in their final group game secured the final qualifying spot in group B for Ecuador, which was much easier said than done against the hosts and tournament favourites Brazil, and it’ll certainly bode well for them as they come up against another one of the big guns in their quarter-final.
Argentina finished top of group A with narrow 1-0 wins over Uruguay and Paraguay preceding their convincing 4-1 victory over group whipping boys Bolivia.
La Albiceleste understandably go into this match as favourites, though Ecuador are by no means a pushover and will undoubtedly make this game extremely tough.
Indeed, despite finishing fourth in the group, they only lost one match which came narrowly in their opener against Colombia.
They’ve now gone W4-D3-L3 from their last 10 outings, which included thumping wins over Colombia and Uruguay, so they certainly can’t be written off.
While the Argentines obviously have the superior head-to-head record, they haven’t been as dominant over the last 10-15 years as one might expect.
From the last 13 meetings between these two, Argentina have won less than half and while Ecuador had never beaten them until 2005, they’ve now seen three victories over the Argentines.
The most recent meeting in October ended just 1-0 to Argentina, with that goal coming from the penalty spot and we’d expect a close game again here.
Ecuador +1.0 Asian Handicap
We wouldn’t want to get behind the Ecuador win though, as that would see an end to Argentina’s current 17 match unbeaten streak, which has proven just how difficult they have been to beat as well going back to July 2019.
However, of those 17 matches, they’ve only won by more than a single goal on four occasions, while half of their last eight matches have ended all square.
That suggests to us that, in a competition that has eluded Argentina since 1993, they’ll be hesitant about going hell for leather here and another low scoring game could very much be on the cards.
Of Ecuador’s last 29 matches since the beginning of 2018, only three have they lost by more than a single strike, with those results coming against Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina themselves though that was back in October 2019 and in an international friendly, so will have little bearing on tonight’s outcome.
Ecuador were considered a dark horse before this tournament and although they haven’t been prolific, they’ve been extremely tough to beat and they’re well worth getting behind, even if it’s on the handicap, and that looks to be the best value in this clash.