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Friendlies

  • February 6, 2013
  • • 20:45
  • • Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques, Guimarães
  • Referee: M. Strahonja
  • • Attendance: 20288
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Portugal-Ecuador Preview: Ronaldo looking to continue birthday celebrations with win over South Americans

Portugal-Ecuador Preview: Ronaldo looking to continue birthday celebrations with win over South Americans

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The Real Madrid superstar turned 28 on Tuesday, and despite struggling for full fitness, is likely to feature in this friendly clash in Guimaraes

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

PORTUGAL

Beto
J. Pereira, Alves, R. Costa, Coentrao
Meireles, Moutinho, Veloso
Nani, Nelson Oliveira, Ronaldo
ECUADOR

Dominguez
Achilier, Guagua, Bagui, Paredes
Valencia, Castillo, Noboa, Montero
Caicedo, Benitez

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.

Players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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He’ll make his 101st appearance for Portugal in this match and is central to almost everything
his team accomplishes going forward. At Euro 2012 he carried the national team on his shoulder,
scoring twice in a Group Stage victory over The Netherlands and again in the quarterfinals
against the Czech Republic. He has been on a tear with Real Madrid to start the calendar year
and presently has 33 goals from 34 matches in all competitions this season.

F. Caicedo

Position: Attacker

Games: 2

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The 24-year-old striker is second on the Lokomotiv Moscow goalscoring chart to Roman
Pavlyuchenko and leads his side with four goals in World Cup qualifying. Manchester City
supporters may remember the five Premier League goals he scored for them in the 2008-09
season. He’ll play alongside burly striker Christian Benítez on Wednesday.

Editor's Prediction

Ecuador haven’t lost in World Cup qualifying since June, when they were thrashed 4-0 by Argentina at the Monumental. But their form is deceiving, as they struggle away from the altitude of Quito. Still, there is enough quality here - particularly up front - to cause Portugal plenty of problems, and they should be tipped to come away with a score draw on Wednesday.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Portugal

Ecuador

Wins
0
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Portugal PRT
Portugal Portugal
Draw
Ecuador ECU
Ecuador Ecuador
68%
25%

Top 3 Predictions

Portugal PRT
3 - 1
Ecuador ECU
Portugal PRT
1 - 2
Ecuador ECU
Portugal PRT
8 - 0
Ecuador ECU

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