Brazil vs Ecuador by DamirJ
Whenever we speak about Brazil at some big tournament, we always consider them as one of the favorites to lift the title in the end. It won't be much different this time either, however their ambitions are several hurt after many players canceling for this tournament. Neymar was the first one who opted for the Olympics instead of Copa America, but he did it long time ago, while recent injuries really hurt the chances of the nation.
Things to be worse, they all came as almost last minute ones and the players that came as replacement, surely had no time to fit into the team and probably the biggest question mark for the Brazilians remains their first performance, while we could see more and better image of them once they settle in and start playing as a unit. Offensive midfielder Rafinha and Kaka had to pull out of the squad in last two days, increasing the number of casualties for Dunga to six men.
As said, Neymar announced he would not play in the competition, instead focusing on the 2016 Olympics, while striker Ricardo Oliveira, goalkeeper Ederson, Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa and Luiz Gustavo also withdrew before Kaka and Rafinha. They played one friendly game, winning over Panama 2:0 last week, but with a different side than what they will use here, having Kaka and Luiz Gustavo as creative force.
Ecuador, on the other side, always looks as a classic South American side and are surely not easy to defeat, however the team has never won Copa America so far. However, the side is doing rather well in qualifiers for the World Cup 2018 being together with Colombia at the first position with 4-1-1 record and the team surely bases their morale for Copa America due these recent games.
They also had only one preparation game, losing to USA 1:0 ten days ago, with the only goal being scored back in 90th minute via Nagbe and it could be said that the teams were actually quite equal, but the Ecuadorians paid the price of not having that quality substitutes during the game.
They are coming here in quite strong composition for their standards, as only striker Felipe Caicedo withdrew out of known players. Players like Antonio Valencia and Enner Valencia in offensive part of the team surely have plenty of quality, even in comparison to Brazilians, while the team looks actually quite solid in all areas, being one of more experienced sides at the tournament with six players who have played 50+ games for the national team.
Brazilians played only one control game before the tournament, but with a pretty different side than what they'll field here. Having that in mind, I can't trust them, since the Ecuadorians now even look as a more experienced side. However, Brazil remains with great power in attack, while their defensive lineup anyway doesn't look that solid. It's something to have in mind and I believe going for over goals is the right and valuable choice here.