One of the favorites to win this year’s Copa America, Uruguay, are always considered among the strongest sides in the competition. They will be looking to open this edition with three points against a weaker Ecuador team.
Uruguay vs. Ecuador
• Copa America
• Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
• Monday 17 June
• 00:00 CET
Uruguay Team News
Uruguay are the record holders with 15 trophies at Copa America and the last time they lift the title was in 2011 when they beat Paraguay in the final, 3-0. Still, La Celeste failed make it to the semis in the previous two editions of the tournament.
Oscar Tabarez has a prolific attack led by the nation’s top scorer Luis Suarez, and Edinson Cavani, while their strong defense is led by Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, who played together at Atletico Madrid for years. Midfield is not as flashy but Tabarez has talented individuals such as Rodrigo Bentancur, Matías Vecino, and Lucas Torreira.
Uruguay Latest Form
Uruguay finished the last year with four consecutive losses in friendlies, but in 2019, they won all three games with a combined score of 10-0, winning the first half on each occasion. Eight of their previous 11 games produced over 2.5 goals (W6, L5), but the last five didn’t produce goals on both ends.
Uruguayan all-time top scorer Luis Suarez (55 goals) has scored in three of his last five appearances (club & country), twice after the hour mark. There hasn’t been a draw in Uruguay’s previous 17 games (W11, L6). Uruguay won only two Copa America matches since winning the tournament back in 2011 (D1, L4).
Ecuador Team News
Ecuador are one of the worst teams at Copa America through the history as they haven’t won a single medal at the competition and managed to play in the semi-finals on just two occasions (1959 and 1993). However, we saw a bit of improvement from Los Amarillos in the previous tournament in 2016 as they reached the quarter-finals after 19 years since they advanced to the knockout stage.
Ecuador will find it hard to finish in one of the top two places in this group as they face stiff competition from Uruguay and Chile but at least they can be looking to finis in the third position ahead of Japan.
Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez will lean on captain Antonio Valencia and the team’s top scorer Enner Valencia to take this team to the knockout phase. Enner has an excellent opportunity to match Augustin Delgado’s record of 31 goals for the country, and he needs three more goals to do it.
Ecuador Latest Form
Ecuador haven’t won a single match in 2019 (D2, L2), but at least manged to score three goals in their previous two friendlies. Those three goals all came after the interval with La Tri scoring 13 of their 14 goals since the start of 2018 in the second 45 minutes.
The last time Ecuador won their opening game at CA was in 1993 (6-1) against Venezuela (D3, L6 since). Additionally, over the last six Copa Americas, Ecuador won just three games overall (W3, D3, L13). Enner Valencia scored six of his previous seven goals for Ecuador in the second half. There have been over 2.5 goals scored in only three of Ecuador’s last ten matches.
Uruguay vs. Ecuador Head to Head
Since 1939 and their first duel, these foes played 38 games in total and Uruguay dominated in those H2H encounters (W26, D6, L6) but they haven’t been that better in the past few years. Actually, Ecuador won two of the last three meetings while Uruguay won the previous one, 2-1 in the qualifications for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Uruguay vs. Ecuador Betting Tip
La Celeste won the last three friendly games and kept the net intact along the way. On the other hand, Ecuador are winless in the last four matches and given the history between these rivals, I am going with Uruguay to get a win at 1.65 (-150).