OPTIMISM is growing in Ecuador but can La Tricolor upset the odds in Group A? Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) talk you through their chances of success.
- Outright Winner: 33/1 (SkyBet)
- Group A Winner: 7/1 (BetVictor)
- Group A Top-Two Finish: 6/4 (BetVictor)
- Highest Scoring Team: 40/1 (SkyBet)
- Form Post-World Cup: W2-D1-L3
Tim Vickery's View[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206967355?secret_token=s-fMyhQ” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Mark O'Haire's View
EC-UA-DOR! I find it almost impossible to talk about, write about or even think about Ecuador without referencing Sash!’s wonderful 1997 hit of the same name. In fact, move over Taylor Swift… I’m going to have to stick Ecuador back on the speakers. Tune.
Enough of 90s German dance DJs and more football. The football version of Ecuador are the only side to exit the World Cup at the group stage over the past two tournaments and rumours of internal disciplinary problems that saw star wingers Luis Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero dropped have since blown over. There’s a new air of optimism around La Tricolour.
The Yellows have made it as far as the quarter-finals just once in their last seven Copa Americas and never claimed top honours but there’s a feeling the current crop could make a dent in Chile. Despite their early World Cup exit, there was plenty to encourage in Brazil and new coach Gustavo Quinteros is keen to harness that potential ahead of the gruelling World Cup qualifiers that begin again in October.
You see, Quinteros’ style suits the characteristics of the national team. Blood, thunder, pace, power and old-fashioned wing play. Valencia and Montero were called back into the fold (Valencia's since withdrawn through injury) and although punters may look to narrow defeats to Mexico and Argentina in March, the Argentine-born boss was sufficiently encouraged to claim the side are on the right path.
Former Manchester City flop Felipe Caicedo, so often the fulcrum of Ecuador’s attack will be rested allowing Enner Valencia to continue the promise shown as La Tricolour’s main man in attack and he should be aided by new kid on the block Miller Bolaños. The nippy forward is a better link than Valencia and should feature in the vacant striking berth alongside the West Ham hitman.
There are of course issues that need ironing out. The Yellows lack any class at the back to hold the defence together following veteran Ivan Hurtado’s retirement and Quinteros has conceded that the side must organise themselves better if they’re to avoid being caught on the counter.
All in all, the W2-D1-L3 return since last summer’s World Cup doesn’t give a fair reflection on Ecuador’s growing confidence and progress and a place in the quarter-finals must be the minimum aim of the 2015 vintage. Facing Chile first in Group A could work to their advantage and with an understrength Mexico joining an ill prepared Bolivian challenge, a top-two Group A finish can be achieved at a very generous 6/4 (BetVictor).
The View From The Inside
“I'm not particularly hopeful for Ecuador sadly, and my money would be on a quarter-final exit. In Ecuador's group, (Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia), they really have to aim for second-place, with that final match against Mexico in Rancagua potentially being a decider. The reason second would be so important is that were they to qualify in third, they will face the winners of Group B, likely to be Argentina, tournament favourites.
They have been hit pretty hard by injuries, with Antonio Valencia and Felipe Caicedo pulling out of the squad. Angel Mena, an interesting and speedy forward, who could have provided them with an interesting option off the bench, also looks to be missing out.”
– Euan Marshall (@euanmarshall) Glaswegian journalist based in Sao Paulo and author of A to Zico : an alphabet of Brazilian football.
- Ecuador vs Chile | 12th June 2015 | 00.30 | Premier Sports
- Ecuador vs Bolivia | 15th June 2015 | 22.00 | Premier Sports
- Ecuador vs Mexico | 19th June 2015 | 22.00 | Premier Sports
Ecuador Form & Stats
|Last 10 Competitive Games||W3-D3-L4||Last 20 Competitive Games||W8-D5-L7|
|0-0 Draw||1/10||0-0 Draw||1/20|
|Over 1.5 Goals||6/10||Over 1.5 Goals||14/20|
|Over 2.5 Goals||4/10||Over 2.5 Goals||8/20|
|Over 3.5 Goals||1/10||Over 3.5 Goals||4/20|
|Over 4.5 Goals||1/10||Over 4.5 Goals||2/20|
|Both Teams To Score||6/10||Both Teams To Score||11/20|
|Fail To Score||3/10||Fail To Score||4/20|
|Clean Sheet||2/10||Clean Sheet||6/20|
|HT Draw||5/10||HT Draw||12/20|
|Over 1.5 Team Goals||2/10||Over 1.5 Team Goals||6/20|
|Win + Both Teams To Score||1/10||Win + Both Teams To Score||2/20|
*All stats and form correct until 30 May 2015*