World Cup Qualifying Preview: Ecuador - Argentina
The visitors will be without Higuain and Zabaleta, but will hope for three points against a Tricolor side bruised by defeat at the hands of Peru on Friday.
By Daniel Edwards
With Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Zabaleta suspended while Lionel Messi struggles for fitness, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is likely to repeat the same 5-3-2 formation used for the Albiceleste visit to Bolivia in March. Jose Basanta will enter in the middle of the defense, while Gino Peruzzi looks to have the advantage over Clemente Rodriguez to replace Zabaleta.
In attack, Sergio Aguero is likely to be partnered by Rodrigo Palacio, with Angel Di Maria supporting from deep, although Sabella could still plump for Ezequiel Lavezzi to play alongside the Manchester City man. Messi is once more expected to start from the bench.
The most significant change from Ecuador will see Felipe Caicedo regain his place in the starting lineup. The striker was a fitness doubt in the loss to Peru thanks to a muscle strain, but appeared in the second half of that fixture and is expected to partner Christian Benitez up front.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Ecuador currently sits in third place in the World Cup qualifying standings, a 1-0 reverse to Peru meaning Colombia moved ahead of the Tricolor on goal difference.
- Just two of the side's 11 games so far have ended in a draw, with Reinaldo Rueda's men winning six clashes and losing three. All six victories have come at home in Quito.
- The South American side has qualified for two World Cups in its history, failing to make it past the first round in 2002 and 2006.
- Argentina has made just one trip to altitude so far in the campaign, coming away with a 1-1 draw in La Paz against Bolivia.
- The team's last clash with Ecuador ended in resounding fashion, Argentina running out a 4-0 winner thanks to goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero (right), Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria.
- The Albiceleste could seal their passage to Brazil 2014 with victory, if both Peru and Uruguay fail to win
Top 3 Predictions
Ecuador 1-3 Argentina
- 14.79 %
Ecuador 1-2 Argentina
- 13.55 %
Ecuador 0-2 Argentina
- 11.37 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 15, 2013||Ecuador 0 - Argentina 0|
|WCQ 2014 (Conmebol) (WCQS)||Jun 11, 2013||Ecuador 1 - Argentina 1|
|WCQ 2014 (Conmebol) (WCQS)||Jun 2, 2012||Argentina 4 - Ecuador 0|
|WCQ 2014 (Conmebol) (WCQS)||Jun 10, 2009||Ecuador 2 - Argentina 0|
|WCQ 2014 (Conmebol) (WCQS)||Jun 15, 2008||Argentina 1 - Ecuador 1|
|Mar 5, 2014||Australia 3 - Ecuador 4||FR|
|Nov 19, 2013||Honduras 2 - Ecuador 2||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Ecuador 0 - Argentina 0||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Chile 2 - Ecuador 1||WCQS|
|Oct 11, 2013||Ecuador 1 - Uruguay 0||WCQS|
|4||Juan Carlos Paredes||Midfielder|
|9||Jefferson Antonio Montero||Midfielder|
|-||M. de Jesús|
|-||Juan Luis Anangonó|
|-||José María Basanta||Defender|
|7||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed