The Copa America’s Group C begins play on Sunday, and one of the cup favorites Uruguay takes on Ecuador in their opening game. Uruguay has won the tournament a record 15 times and looks like it has a good shot to add another in 2019 if the squad can stay healthy. Ecuador is looking to rediscover its form after some down years, and this cup could serve as a springboard ahead of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Uruguay: Expectations are high for the most successful nation in Copa America history. In what is likely their last Copa America with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, they are hoping of a repeat of 2011. Suarez and Cavani will be the focal point in the final third, but there is so much talent around them to produce the best attacking in the competition. Ecuador’s speed will be a challenge, but Uruguay should feel confident in getting three points.
Ecuador: Talented and with some young players who can really contribute, this is the first major competition under the guidance of Hernan Dario Gomez in his second stint with the national team. The Colombian has taken three different countries to the World Cup — Colombia in 1998, Ecuador in 2002 and Panama last year.
The first fixture of the Group C of the 2019 Copa America will see Uruguay take on Ecuador at the Estadio Governador Magalhães Pinto on Sunday night.
The 46th edition of the Copa America is underway in Brazil, with the hosts kicking off the tournament with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday. The focus will shift to Belo Horizonte on Sunday as Uruguay will lock horns against Ecuador in the Group C opener.
Following their quarter-final exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup against France, Uruguay have had somewhat mixed fortunes, having lost four of their five post-World Cup fixtures in 2018. However, Oscar Tabarez’s men have turned things around and are in red-hot form heading into the Copa America, registering three consecutive wins in 2019.
La Celeste’s latest match ended in a 3-0 triumph over Panama in a friendly last weekend. Having failed to get out of the group stages in the last edition of the Copa America, Uruguay, managed by Oscar Tabarez, will be aiming to kickstart the competition with a win on Sunday night.
Ecuador, on the other hand, come into the game having not won in four matches in a row (D2 L2), with their last victory coming against Panama in November last year. Prior to their Copa America opener against Uruguay this weekend, La Tricolor were handed a 3-2 defeat by Mexico.
Ecuador will be going into the Group C opener on Sunday with very less expectations and manager Hernan Dario Gomez will have his task cut out as he looks to set his team up to challenge one of the strongest teams in the competition.
Uruguay have named star striker Luis Suarez in the squad despite the 32-year-old undergoing a knee surgery towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign. The fact that he came off the bench to score against Panama last week bodes well for Oscar Tabarez’s side. With Edinson Cavani, Cristhian Stuani and Maxi Gomez also in the roster, La Celeste have plenty of quality in attack.
Seasoned campaigner Fernando Muslera ought to be the obvious pick in goal for Uruguay, ahead of Martin Campana and Martin Silva. In Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, they have one of the strongest centre-back partnership in the competition, while the full-back slots are likely to be occupied by Martin Caceres and Diego Laxalt.
Juventus star Rodrigo Bentancur and Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino are likely to start in the centre of the park, with Real Madrid youngster Federico Valverde unlikely to feature despite scoring against Panama, while Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira is also likely to sit this one out.
Threat from the wide areas will come from Nahitan Nandez and Nicolas Lodeiro, who will be key in supplying the strikers with chances, given that the Uruguayan central midfield department lacks a creative presence. Both Cavani and Suarez haven’t started a single game in 2019, but that is likely to change on Sunday with Tabarez likely to go ahead with his senior strikers.