Uruguay, the winningest team in Copa America history, will face Ecuador to open their 2019 Copa America campaign.
Uruguay and Ecuador are bracketed in Group C along with defending champions Chile and guest team Japan. The match between Uruguay and Ecuador will be on June 16, 2019, at the Estadio de Mineirao in Belo Horizonte in Brazil.
The winners and runners-up of each group plus the two best third-placed teams advance to the quarterfinals. The winners of Group C will face the 3rd placed team of either Group A or B in the last eight while the runners-up of Group C will take on the Group B winner in the quarterfinals.
This is the schedule of Group C matches for the 2019 Copa America:
|June 16||Uruguay vs Ecuador||11pm / 6pm||Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte|
|June 17||Japan vs Chile||12am / 7pm||Estadio do Morumbi, Sao Paulo|
|June 20||Uruguay vs Japan||12am / 7pm||Arena do Gremio, Porto Alegre|
|June 21||Ecuador vs Chile||12am / 7pm||Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador|
|June 24||Chile vs Uruguay||12am / 7pm||Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro|
|June 24||Ecuador vs Japan||12am / 7pm||Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte|
Uruguay is the most successful nation in the Copa America with a record 15 continental titles. La Celeste has last hoisted the Copa trophy in 2011 when they were led by Diego Forlan and supported by a young Luis Suarez. Suarez is now the star-striker and he looks to redeem his team after a dismal 2016 Copa America performance where Uruguay was eliminated in the group stages after back to back losses to Mexico and Venezuela. But Uruguay bounced back with a strong performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup where they reached the quarterfinals and lost to eventual champions France.
Oscar Tabarez’s final 23-man squad is as follows:
- Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana
- Defenders: Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez, Sebastian Coates, Martin Caceres, Marcelo Sarrachi
- Midfielders: Giovanni Gonzalez, Diego Laxalt, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Nahitan Nandez, Federico Valverde, Nicolas Lodeiro, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Gaston Pereiro
- Forward: Edinson Cavani, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Jonathan Rodriguez, Luis Suarez
Odds from Bet365 as of 6/05/19
Along with Venezuela, Ecuador is the only team that hasn’t won the Copa America. The Tricolor team’s highest finish was 4th in 1993. In 1997, Ecuador finished unbeaten with two wins and two draws. However, they were eliminated by Mexico via penalty. Ecuador has shown progress in the last couple of decades and during that period, they qualified for the FIFA World Cup three times, in 2002, 2006 and 2014. Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez is the only coach to steer three different countries to a World Cup and is aiming for Ecuador to be the 4th. But while Gomez says that he wants Ecuador to have a good showing in Brazil, he has already declared that his main priority is to get his team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Hernan Dario Gomez’s final 23-man squad is as follows:
- Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez, Pedro Ortiz, Maximo Banguera
- Defenders: Arturo Mina, Roberto Arboleda, Pedro Pablo Velasco, Cristian Ramirez, Xavier Arreaga, Jose Quintero, Beder Caicedo, Gabriel Achilier
- Midfielders: Romario Ibarra, Renato Ibarra, Carlos Gruezo, Jefferson Intriago, Antonio Valencia, Ayrton Preciado, Jefferson Orejuela, Andres Chicaiza, Jhegson Mendez
- Forwards: Carlos Garces, Angel Mena, Enner Valencia
The most notable player for Ecuador is Manchester United stalwart Antonio Valencia. Valencia is the first footballer from Ecuador to play in a Champions League final in 2011 and the first from his country to lift the European League trophy in 2017. Since joining United in 2009, Valencia won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup in 2016, the League Cup two times and the Europa League one time. Valencia was officially the captain at United although he played little this season due to injury and hardly since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as manager. With Valencia named as Ecuador’s captain for the 2019 Copa America, he provides plenty of experience for his younger teammates. During his decade at United, Valencia was known for his pace and powerfully-driver crosses.
For Uruguay, there is no bigger star than Luis Suarez who is a huge threat in front of the goal and during the final third. Suarez was Player of the Tournament in the 2011 Copa America with four goals and was the main driving force behind Uruguay’s 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign. During the 2018-19 season, he scored 21 goals for Barcelona in La Liga play after recovering from a hamstring injury. Suarez already has good chemistry with partner Edinson Cavani from PSG and will be the pair could be Ecuador’s biggest headache in this match.
Uruguay is the soccer betting favorite here and rightfully so. They really have a good squad for the 2019 Copa America with Suarez and Cavani providing the goals and captain Diego Godin who inspires the team’s defense. Although they are bracketed in a group that includes defending champion Chile and Asian powerhouse Japan, they have the tools to finish on top of their group. With Ecuador more focused on the 2022 World Cup and given Uruguay’s complete line-up, I’m going with La Celeste here. Prediction: Uruguay