Argentina are set to host Ecuador at La Bombonera on Thursday in their next FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Argentina last played an international fixture nearly a year ago, when they drew 2-2 against Uruguay in an international friendly at the Bloomfield Stadium. Goals from Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and a penalty from Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for Argentina was cancelled out by goals from Luis Suarez and new Manchester United signing Edinson Cavani.
Ecuador, on the other hand, lost 1-0 to Colombia in an international friendly last year at the Red Bull Arena. Porto midfielder Mateus Uribe scored the only goal of the game to secure victory for his country.
Argentina vs Ecuador Head-to-Head
In 35 previous encounters between the two sides, Argentina hold the clear advantage. They have won 20 games, lost just five and drawn 10.
The two countries last faced each other in 2019, with Argentina thrashing Ecuador 6-1. An own goal from Jhon Espinoza and goals from Bayer Leverkusen forward Lucas Alario, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Leandro Paredes, German Pezzella, Nicolas Dominguez and Lucas Ocampos secured a comfortable win for Argentina.
Club Leon winger Angel Mena scored the consolation goal for Ecuador.
Argentina form guide: W-D-W-W-D
Ecuador form guide: W-W-L-W-L
Argentina vs Ecuador Team News
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has named a strong squad. Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is unavailable due to injury, as is Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero. Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela and Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa have not been called up.
There could be potential debuts for Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, alongside Lens left-back Facundo Medina and Granada centre-back Nehuen Perez.
Injured: Marcos Rojo, Sergio Aguero
Meanwhile, Ecuador have also named a good squad, including Sporting CP winger Gonzalo Plata and new Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan. Debuts could be in line for Torino centre-back Erick Ferigra, LDU Quito midfielder Franklin Guerra and Independiente del Valle youngster Moises Caicedo, alongside Jordy Alcivar and Jose Carabali.
Argentina vs Ecuador Predicted XI
Argentina Predicted XI (4-3-3): Esteban Andrada, Gonzalo Montiel, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico, Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Marcos Acuna, Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala
Ecuador Predicted XI (4-3-3): Alexander Dominguez, Angelo Preciado, Felix Torres, Xavier Arreaga, Pervis Estupinan, Alan Franco, Jhegson Mendez, Angel Mena, Renato Ibarra, Enner Valencia, Romario Ibarra
Argentina vs Ecuador Prediction
Argentina have an excellent attack, despite the absence of striker Sergio Aguero. Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez and Papu Gomez have been named in the squad, and all of them are amongst the best in their position. In defence however, the absence of players like Marcos Rojo and German Pezzella could prove to be costly.
Ecuador, on the other hand, will rely on former West Ham United striker Enner Valencia to provide the goals. Pervis Estupinan is a highly-regarded left-back, and looks set to enjoy a bright future in the game.
Argentina have a good squad, as well as Lionel Messi. They should be able to comfortably win this match.
Prediction: Argentina 3-0 Ecuador
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