Uruguay will be looking to maintain the momentum of a three-game international winning run when they face Ecuador in Belo Horizonte on Sunday evening. Oscar Tabarez’s team enjoyed a fine World Cup tournament in Russia last year too, reaching the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by eventual winners France. In their three friendly internationals in 2019, Uruguay have won three games, scoring 10 goals and conceding none in the process. Those games have been against pretty modest opposition, though, in the form of Uzbekistan and Thailand away from home, and Panama at home.
Ecuador will need to put their recent poor form behind them and try to hit the ground running in this first game of the Copa America. They are without a win in their last four games, with their last victory coming in Panama in November. In their last game, they lost 3-2 to Mexico in a game played in the USA.
Uruguay vs Ecuador Prediction: Uruguay 2-0 Ecuador
Ecuador are a team who are very low on confidence. In their last game against Mexico, they took the lead twice but still ended up losing the game 3-2. Uruguay have a front two of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, one of the sharpest striking partnerships in world football. Ecuador are unlikely to have the quality or concentration to hold those two at bay for the whole 90 minutes. We suspect that Uruguay will score twice, probably late on, to seal what will be, in the end, a pretty convincing victory.
Our recommended tip: Uruguay 2-0
Our featured tip for this game comes from Ladbrokes, who are offering odds of 6/1 on our prediction of a 2-0 win for Uruguay turning out to be accurate. Uruguay finished second in the South American World Cup qualifiers, while Ecuador could not even qualify, highlighting the gulf between these two sides. When it comes to predicting the outcome of this contest, the bookies believe that only one team can win it. If you want to get some good odds on a Uruguayan win, put your money on our selection here.
Uruguay have won 26 of the last 32 games between these two sides, and they have scored in 11 of the last 14 encounters. In total, the teams have met on 47 occasions, and Uruguay have won 30 of those games. There have been 11 draws, and Ecuador have won just six games. Ecuador recorded back-to-back victories over Uruguay in 2013 and 2015 in World Cup qualifiers, but lost the next meeting, in 2016, 2-1.
That game, in Armenia in Colombia, was the last time the two sides met. Sebastian Coates and Diego Rolan scored the goals for Uruguay, with Felipe Caicedo netting for Ecuador.
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Players to watch: Luis Suarez & Enner Valencia
Uruguay’s attacking power is what will probably win them this game. In the shape of Luis Suarez they have one of the world’s best strikers. The Barcelona striker scored 21 goals for his club in 33 La Liga matches in 2018/19. He has a total of 56 goals for his country in 107 games, and looks almost certain to add to that tally in this year’s Copa America. There are fewer controversies surrounding him than in the past too.
Fans of West Ham United will be familiar with Ecuador striker Enner Valencia, who played for the Hammers in the 2014/15 season in the Premier League. Valencia is his country’s second-highest scorer, with 27 goals in 46 appearances for the national side. Now playing with UANL in the Mexican league, Valencia scored five league goals in 24 games for his club in 2018/19. If Ecuador are to have any chance of winning on Sunday, he will need to play well.