Ecuador vs Argentina preview, team news, players to watch and more | International friendlies
Argentina and Ecuador will lock horns in a friendly fixture as they continue their preparation for the World Cup qualifiers next year.
La Albiceleste are very much in a transition phase, after seeing most of their established players of the last decade exit the scene and they gave a good account of themselves at the last Copa America; finishing in third place.
Ecuador, for their part, have always been among the second tier teams on the South American continent, good enough to trouble anyone on their day but not quite able to match the big boys consistently.
Argentina come into the fixture off the back of an impressive 2-2 draw with Germany last week at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.
The in-form Serge Gnabry had put the home side ahead in the 15th minute, with Kai Havertz doubling their lead to give Germany a 2-0 advantage heading into half-time, but goals from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos ensured both teams shared the spoils.
For their part, Ecuador are yet to play a fixture in the latest FIFA window but posted consecutive friendly victories over Peru and Bolivia in September after their group-stage elimination from the Copa America.
Coach Lionel Scaloni has continued his rebuilding process with the Argentine national team and keeping in terms with this, he announced a relatively young squad to play the friendlies against Germany and Ecuador.
There was no space for stalwarts like Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, and Angel Di Maria, while youngsters like Lautaro Martinez and Juan Foyth continue their trajectory as key future pillars of the squad.
Erik Lamela was also rewarded for his good start to the season with a re-call along with Marcos Rojo, while Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez earned a first call-up.
Jorge Célico named a 19-man squad of mostly inexperienced players to prosecute the friendlies against Argentina for Los Amarillos, with forward Enner Valencia and midfielders Angel Mena and Jhegson Mendez the only players with up to 10 caps.
Date: Sunday, 13 September 2019
Time: 4:00 pm CEST (Local time), 3:00 pm (WAT), 2:00 pm (GMT), 7:30 pm (IST)
Venue: Estadio Martínez Valero, Valencia
Players to watch
Argentina: Lautaro Martinez
Lautaro Martinez had his breakthrough moment at the last Copa America where he was unarguably Argentina's best player in their run to a third-place finish.
He followed that up with another convincing performance in the friendly against Mexico, scoring a hat-trick to bring his tally for 2019 to eight goals from just ten matches.
Having successfully displaced compatriot Mauro Icardi at club level, Lautaro Martinez looks ready to hold down the striking position for Argentina for the next decade.
Ecuador: Enner Valencia
Enner Valencia is one of Ecuador's more high-profile players in recent years and has represented the likes of West Ham and Everton in the past.
He currently turns out for Tigres UANL in the Mexican Liga MX and would be charged with leading the line against Argentina.
Given that the 29-year-old is just two strikes short of equaling the record for most goals scored for Ecuador (31) set by Agustin Delgado, Valencia would do his utmost to get closer to the mark with a couple of goals against Argentina.Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:44 IST