Portugal-Ecuador Preview: Ronaldo looking to continue birthday celebrations with win over South Americans
The Real Madrid superstar turned 28 on Tuesday, and despite struggling for full fitness, is likely to feature in this friendly clash in Guimaraes
By Jerrad Peters
J. Pereira, Alves, R. Costa, Coentrao
Meireles, Moutinho, Veloso
Nani, Nelson Oliveira, Ronaldo
Achilier, Guagua, Bagui, Paredes
Valencia, Castillo, Noboa, Montero
Paulo Bento is likely to name a strong line-up for Wednesday’s friendly. The Portugal coach has seen his side fail to win any of their last three matches and will look to inspire a change in momentum ahead of next month’s crucial pair of World Cup qualifiers.
For that to happen he will need a big performance from Cristiano Ronaldo, who hasn't scored in his last four international matches, and a strong contribution from Nani, whose last goal for his country came before the Euro 2012 finals.
Deportivo La Coruna striker Nelson Oliveira is likely to be handed a start between the two wingers after Hugo Almeida picked up a knock on Friday. Bento has also called up Benfica midfielder Andre Gomes after Braga’s Ruben Micael pulled out of the squad due to injury.
Ecuador are likely to be without highly-rated central defender Erazo Frickson after the 24-year-old picked up an adductor problem, which means Oscar Bagui is likely to win his 17th cap. The absence of Michael Arroyo should also open up a spot for lively Morelia winger Jefferson Montero, who will play opposite Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The only previous meeting between Portugal and Ecuador came on the opening day of the 1972 Brazil Independence Cup, which commemorated the 150th anniversary of Brazil’s Declaration of Independence. The legendary Eusebio scored in a 3-0 victory for the Europeans.
- Portugal went on to lose to hosts Brazil in the Independence Cup final, with Jairzinho scoring the only goal of the match.
- Portugal last faced South American opposition in early 2011 when they lost 2-1 to Argentina in Geneva and drew 1-1 with Chile in Leiria. Cristiano Ronaldo netted the goal against the Argentines while Silvestre Varela opened the scoring against Chile.
- Portugal are third in World Cup qualification Group F after four matches, trailing Russia by five points and behind Israel on goal-difference. Only Helder Postiga has scored more than a single goal for them in the campaign thus far.
- Ecuador finished bottom of their group at the 2011 Copa America, failing to win a single match. Their lone point came courtesy of a 0-0 draw with eventual runners-up Paraguay.
- Ecuador are second to Argentina after nine rounds of Conmebol World Cup qualifying and are likely to book a place in their third World Cup finals. They previously participated in Korea-Japan 2002 and Germany 2006.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Portugal 3-1 Ecuador
- 13.65 %
Portugal 1-2 Ecuador
- 10.07 %
Portugal 8-0 Ecuador
- 9.62 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||6 Feb 2013||Portugal 2 - Ecuador 3|
|19 Nov 2013||Sweden 2 - Portugal 3||WCQE|
|15 Nov 2013||Portugal 1 - Sweden 0||WCQE|
|15 Oct 2013||Portugal 3 - Luxembourg 0||WCQE|
|11 Oct 2013||Portugal 1 - Israel 1||WCQE|
|11 Sep 2013||Brazil 3 - Portugal 1||FR|
|4||Juan Carlos Paredes||Midfielder|
|3||Fricson Rafael Erazo||Defender|
|9||Jefferson Antonio Montero||Midfielder|
|19||Luis Fernando Saritama||Midfielder|
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed