Brazil will be aiming to keep their winning run intact in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers when they take on Ecuador at Porto Alegre this week.
Brazil will be hoping to maintain their 100 percent record in the CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers when they lock horns with Ecuador on Friday night at Porto Alegre.
Brazil have made a blazing start to their qualifying campaign for the World Cup next year, picking up four wins in four games which sees them sit at the top of the standings, one point clear of second-placed Argentina who have played a game more. This will be the Selecao’s first assignment since the 2-0 win over Uruguay in November last year and Tite & co. will be hoping to pick up from where they left off, to build steam ahead of the Copa America.
As for Ecuador, they too have made a solid start to the qualifiers and are currently third in the standings, with three wins and a loss from their four games, that includes a 6-1 thrashing of Colombia back in November. Last time out they were in action was in a friendly against Bolivia in March which ended in a 2-1 win. A victory against Brazil this week could see Gustavo Alfaro’s side go to the top of the table.
With the Copa America looming, both Brazil and Ecuador will be looking to go into the tournament with momentum and will, thus, push for a victory on Friday at Porto Alegre, making it for an exciting contest. Ahead of this match-up in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the two teams.
Team News & Tactics
Tite has had to deal with a couple of injury setbacks from the original squad he called up for the qualifiers, with Dani Alves and Lucas Verrisimo withdrawing due to fitness issues while captain Thiago Silva also likely to miss out. Emerson, Felipe and Rodrigo Caio have been drafted in as replacements by Brazil.
Ederson and Weverton have shared game-time in goal in the first four qualifying fixtures. However, with Alisson back in the ranks, the Liverpool goalkeeper should slot into the side against Ecuador. Danilo is likely to get the nod over Emerson at right-back while Juventus teammate Alex Sandro slots in at left-back from where he will look to provide an attacking outlet. Marquinhos and Eder Militao could form the centre-back partnership in Silva’s absence.
With the form that Ecuador have been in, we can expect Tite to name his strongest possible XI, meaning Casemiro could get the nod as the defensive midfielder, although Fabinho is a strong contender for the starting berth as well. Lucas Paqueta and Douglas Luiz could be the other two central midfielders, with the former in charge of providing the forward thrust from the centre.
Moving into the attacking third, there is no looking past Neymar on the left wing for Brazil while Richarlison gets the nod on the right flank with Gabriel Jesus leading the line for the hosts ahead of Roberto Firmino. Vinicius Junior, Everton Soares and Gabriel Barbosa are also options that Tite could call upon from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Danilo, Militao, Marquinhos, Sandro; Luiz, Casemiro, Paqueta; Richarlison, Jesus, Neymar
Gustavo Alfaro has picked up as many as seven uncapped players for the upcoming qualifiers, including 19-year-old Piero Hincapie and 35-year-old Damian Diaz. The Argentine tactician is likely to set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation in front of experienced goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez, with Ecuador likely to sit deep and try to hit Brazil on the break.
Angelo Preciado ought to slot in at right-back for La Tri while Pervis Estupinan gets the nod on the left, from where he will look to overlapping runs into the final third. Robert Arboleda and Xavier Arreaga should form the centre-back pairing that will look to shield the goalkeeper from the Brazil attackers.
Further protection will come from the central midfield duo of Carlos Gruezo and Moises Caicedo, although the latter, who was previously linked with Manchester United, will also have the license to make driving runs into the final third of the pitch and offer attacking support. Angel Mena and Fidel Martinez will provide the creativity and chance-creation from the wings.
Up top, captain and all-time leading goalscorer Enner Valencia ought to be a shoo-in for Ecuador with the former West Ham striker likely to be partnered with Michael Estrada.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Dominguez; Preciado, Arboleda, Arreaga, Estupinan; Mena, Caicedo, Gruezo, Martinez; Estrada, Valencia
- Brazil have won each of their last seven FIFA World Cup qualifying games at home, doing so without letting in a single goal.
- Ecuador have failed to beat Brazil in their last nine meetings across all competitions (D2 L7). The last time La Tri got the better of the Selecao was in November 2004.
- Brazil have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight fixtures against Ecuador (W6 D2).
- After a run of five games without a win in late 2019, Brazil have won each of their last five, scoring 13 goals while letting in just two.
- Ecuador have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last five games (W4 L1).
Player to Watch
Each time Brazil take the pitch, the eyes are invariably on one man and one man only – Neymar. The 29-year-old PSG superstar is coming on the back of a mixed season that saw him miss out on the Ligue 1 title. He managed to produce a tally of 17 goals and 11 assists from 31 games in the 2020/21 term, which is a tad underwhelming considering the standards he has set for himself in the past.
So, when Neymar takes to the field this week for Brazil, he will be a man on a mission. In what will be his 104th appearance for the Selecao, taking him level with Lucio as the fourth-most capped player for the country, the 29-year-old will be gunning to lead his team to a win and set the tone for the upcoming Copa America tournament.
Brazil 3-1 Ecuador
Brazil have been on a roll in the World Cup Qualifiers up until this point, blowing away teams with comfort. And while Ecuador, given their recent run of form, will pose a challenge, Tite’s side boasts of great quality across the pitch, which should help them see off the threat and continue their perfect start to the qualifying campaign.