Argentina vs Ecuador Predictions

Argentina vs Ecuador predictions ahead of this World Cup CONMEBOL qualifier affair on Friday morning. World Champions Argentina begin their World Cup title defence with a home qualifier against Ecuador who have hopes of securing the finals now that CONMEBOL has six automatic places. Read on for our match preview and free betting tips.

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Argentina vs Ecuador Predictions


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Odds corrects at time of posting and subject to change


The World Champions Start Anew

Key Stats
– Argentina have won their last 10 matches since the shock defeat to Saudi Arabia.
– Enner Valencia has scored 36 goals in his last season club and country combined.
– Argentina’s recent form: WWWWWW vs. Ecuador’s form: DLLWWW.

The World Champions, Argentina, are poised to kick off the defence of their title as they welcome Ecuador on Thursday night. With a formidable history and recent form, La Albiceleste have been in scintillating form since their unexpected loss to Saudi Arabia, which marked the end of their awe-inspiring 36-game unbeaten streak.

Ecuador, on the other hand, despite being one of the less elite footballing nations in South America, have made strides. They’ve reached the finals in four of the last six World Cups, displaying their calibre and intentions on the global stage.

Taking a Look Back

Post their streak-breaking defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina have been unstoppable, clinching all 10 matches thereafter. This includes a clean sweep at the World Cup and four consecutive friendly victories. It’s also commendable that teams like Panama, Curacao, Australia, and Indonesia couldn’t even register a goal against them in these friendlies, highlighting Argentina’s defensive solidity.


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Argentina’s journey to the World Cup finals hasn’t always been smooth, however. They barely made the cut in 2018, underpinning the unpredictable nature of football. Yet, the vast majority of the squad that shone in Qatar remains, and under the guidance of Scaloni, it seems business as usual for Argentina.

Ecuador’s football history is relatively recent but impressive. They’ve shown they belong at the top level, especially with their maiden World Cup appearance in 2002. Nevertheless, they have struggled to maintain consistency at major tournaments, often getting knocked out at early stages.

Star Players to Watch

Lionel Messi, now playing for Inter Miami, continues to be the football wizard that we all know him to be. A legend of the game, he has maintained excellent form over the summer and is certainly the player Ecuador will have to mark out of the game. Messi’s influence and importance to Argentina is unparalleled, and as he potentially approaches his sixth World Cup, all eyes will be on him.

Ecuador boast its own standout performers. Enner Valencia has been instrumental in his side’s recent successes. Having scored thrice for his club side in the Copa Libertadores quarter-final and netting 33 goals last season for Fenerbahce, he is clearly the danger man Argentina need to be wary of.

Team Formations and Lineups

With Paulo Dybala and Emi Buendia out due to injuries, Argentina might see both Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez starting, given their incredible form this season. Messi’s 176th cap seems imminent, and Scaloni might just choose the same lineup that began against France in the World Cup final.

Ecuador’s major question mark lies in goal. Hernan Galindez and Alexander Dominguez are vying for the coveted spot. Pervis Estupinan, after a terrific start with Brighton & Hove Albion, is another key player for Ecuador, although facing Messi will be his litmus test.


1. Both Teams to Score – A Battle of Offences

While the initial glance might suggest a dominant performance by Argentina, digging deeper into the stats reveals that Ecuador have a fighting chance. The World Champions Argentina might be entering the game with an incredible momentum, having won all their matches since their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia, but Ecuador boast a commendable offensive track record, which can’t be overlooked.

Argentina’s backline has conceded 8 goals during the 2022 World Cup, an average of more than one goal per game. This vulnerability could be capitalised on by Ecuador, who’ve displayed their offensive capabilities by scoring 4 goals in just 3 matches in the World Cup. They may not be prolific, but they’re efficient. Considering the attacking prowess both sides possess, it seems plausible that both teams will find the net in this encounter.

2. Predicted Scoreline: 3-1 in Favour of Argentina

Argentina’s attacking potential is unquestionable. They scored an impressive 15 goals in the 2022 World Cup, averaging over two goals per game. Their forward line, led by the legendary Lionel Messi, seems in exquisite form, especially considering Messi’s outstanding summer performance for Inter Miami.

Ecuador, on the other hand, despite their offensive capabilities, have shown defensive frailties. They conceded 3 goals in the last World Cup over just three matches, which equates to an average of a goal per game. Given Argentina’s firepower and Ecuador’s defensive record, a 3-1 scoreline in favour of the home side seems like a logical prediction.

3. Goalscorer Prediction: Lionel Messi

The talismanic forward Lionel Messi stands out as the prime candidate to find the net. The Argentine maestro, currently showcasing sensational form at Inter Miami, has an enviable record with 7 goals in the last World Cup, making him the top scorer for Argentina. Given his remarkable ability to make a difference in crucial matches and the form he’s in, betting against him scoring would be ill-advised.

Furthermore, Messi’s experience and innate capability to manoeuvre the ball in tight spaces make him a constant threat. Ecuador’s defence will have their work cut out for them, especially if Messi starts on the right, pitting him against Pervis Estupinan – one of the in-form left-backs currently. The intriguing battle on that flank might be one of the highlights of the game, but given Messi’s track record and form, it’s likely he’ll find a way to breach the Ecuadorian defence.

Under Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s management since October 2021, Paraguay’s performance has been inconsistent at best. A crushing 4-0 defeat in Bolivia marked the end of Eduardo Berizzo’s era and the dawn of Schelotto’s. However, Paraguay’s World Cup qualifiers under Schelotto witnessed them drawing blanks in five of their final six games, amassing a meagre four points.

Yet, the tide might be turning. Recent friendlies have seen the team clinch narrow victories against the United Arab Emirates and Mexico, though defeats against nations like Japan, Chile, and indeed, Peru, have kept their progress in check.

Peru’s Potential


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Odds corrects at time of posting and subject to change

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Gram Dodd
15-year veteran in the sports writing industry who has written betting previews for NFL, golf, football, racing, and tennis. Sports event of all time: the Miracle of Istanbul.