Football specialist James O’Rourke (@JamesOR1) previews Uruguay v Ecuador and provides us with his best bets for Sunday night’s Copa America encounter by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • Profit & Loss: -4.36pts

Uruguay v Ecuador Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 16/06/2019
  • Time: 23:00
  • Venue: Estadio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
  • Channel: Premier Sports

This will be the fifth match in the 2019 Copa America as Uruguay and Ecuador get their respective tournament underway. Uruguay, armed with the deadly striker duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, are deemed a dark horse in the eyes of many as they look to secure what would be their first Copa America title since last winning it in 2011, when Suarez won the Player of the Tournament Award. At the very least, they’ll expect to get out of this group without too much issue.

Ecuador however are on something of a recovery mission having flopped badly when trying to qualify for Russia 2018. They have since changed coach and they’re very much looking to cause a surprise or two here in Brazil. With Chile also in Group C, the Ecuadorians are probably looking to progress as one of the best two third-place sides. Whilst Uruguay have won their last three, Ecuador are winless in four, and they have not played a competitive game since October 2017; playing only friendlies since then. Expectations won’t necessarily be high, but they’ll have plenty of support in the stands as they look to defeat Uruguay, something they’ve actually managed to do in two of the last three meetings.

Team News

Neither side has announced any likely injury worries in the build-up to the 2019 Copa America. Uruguay had the one warm-up game versus Panama prior to the tournament, with star names like Suarez and Cavani given cameo appearances.

On the flip side, Ecuador had two friendlies and Hernán Darío Gómez elected to largely experiment across the two fixtures, with the majority of players getting minutes on the pitch. Deciding upon a formation is one thing that the Colombian shall need to do, having frequently changed across friendly fixtures over the last year or two.

Potential Uruguay Starting XI: Muslera, Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt, Bentacur, Torreira, Vecino, Nanez, Suarez, Cavani.

Potential Ecuador Starting XI: Dominguez, Quinteros, Achilier, Caicedo, Velasco, Intriago, Orejuela, A.Valencia, Mendez, Ibarra, E.Valencia.

Head To Head

  • The two nations have not met on a football pitch since November 2016 when the duo were in World Cup qualifiers for Russia 2018. In that group phase, both sides earned a 2-1 home victory versus one another.
  • Ecuador can take heart from the fact they have won two of the last three encounters. However, if we extend the time frame, those are actually the only two wins they’ve had in the previous 14 clashes with Uruguay.
  • Uruguay therefore have enjoyed greater success in this battle over an extended spell. As well as defeating Ecuador in their latest encounter, they’ve eight of the past 14 head-to-head.

Key Stats & Facts

  • Ecuador are yet to play a competitive game under head coach Hernán Darío Gómez, who has only overseen friendly fixtures to date. The first of those came in a win over Jamaica, following a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign. His record in charge so far reads: played ten, won four, drew three and lost three.
  • In complete contrast, Uruguay have been governed by Óscar Tabárez since 2006. The 72-year-old is in his second spell in charge of the national team, having managed them during the 1989 Copa America. He guided Uruguay to the 2011 Copa America title.
  • Uruguay themselves have mostly played friendly games in recent times. That is with the exception of the China Cup in March, where they won two out of two versus Uzbekistan and Thailand. Their record in friendlies of late has actually been quite disappointing, although they did beat Panama 3-0 prior to jetting off for Brazil. They ended 2018, following the World Cup, by losing four out of their five friendlies, although among the opposition was France and Brazil.
  • Ecuador had a poor campaign in their attempt to qualify for Russia last year. They finished 8th in the ten-team qualification group, finishing six points behind Peru, who occupied the play-off position. They would end the campaign losing their final six games, although they have changed management since then.
  • Uruguay had a much better time of things in qualification to Russia, finishing second behind clear winners Brazil. Edinson Cavani would be top scorer in that period. In Russia itself, it took eventual champions France to knock Tabárez’s men out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage, having won all four matches prior to that.

Betting Odds

  • Uruguay 4/5
  • Draw 12/5
  • Ecuador 22/5

The Verdict

I must admit I’m surprised to see Uruguay the odds that they are. They have aspirations of winning the tournament overall, so they really need to be looking at this one as a match they should be winning to get their competition up and running. Ecuador are still in something of a transitional phase and their head coach seemingly is not too sure of what his best team or system is. This will be Gómez’s first competitive game in charge, so he has only had a series of friendlies to go on. This Uruguay team reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup and have been together for long enough now to expect to go far in the 2019 Copa America.

Clearly, Uruguay are the team we are going to side with, but we’ll look for some additional value in the process. We don’t necessarily expect this one to be full of goals. Both may look to tiptoe their way into things to begin with, but Ecuador will ultimately find it hard to keep Cavani and Suarez quiet. Plus, with Godin and Gimenez at the back, they’ll more than fancy their chances of keeping things tight defensively. Uruguay are a tournament team and will relish an occasion such as this. Ecuador generally struggle against the better South American nations, and I envisage that to continue here.

Uruguay to win and Under 3.5 Goals is the play. Only three of their last 18 matches overall has contained a minimum of four goals. Under the current Ecuador coach, just two of those ten encounters has beat the 3.50 goal line too. Uruguay should win, but not necessarily in emphatic fashion.

Recommended Bets

  • 3pts – Uruguay to win and Under 3.5 Goals – 23/20 (BoyleSports)