MX23RW : Friday, June 18 09:29:40| >> :600:179565:179565:
Jun 5, 2021 at 1.30am UK
Richarlison (65'), Neymar (90+4' pen.)
Fred (36'), Militao (73')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preciado (26'), Valencia (54'), Preciado (69'), Dominguez (90+2')

Preview: Brazil vs. Ecuador - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Brazil and Ecuador, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Brazil will be looking to maintain their 100% record in CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualification when they host Ecuador in Porto Alegre on Saturday.

The two South American nations are the highest scoring teams after the opening four matches, with the Selecao scoring 12 goals and the visitors finding the net 13 times.

Match preview

Brazilian players celebrate Roberto Firmino's goal against Venezuela on November 14, 2020© Reuters

For the first time in seven months, Brazil return to international duty and will be hoping to carry on from where they left off, building on an impressive start to their qualification campaign.

Tite's side have won all four matches so far and sit top of the table as the only South American nation to have claimed maximum points.

The Selecao opened their qualification campaign with a thumping 5-0 victory over Bolivia on October 10, before recording a 4-2 win away to Peru four days later. Brazil's next two fixtures the following month saw them claim a slender 1-0 win against Venezuela and a 2-0 victory away to Uruguay.

Brazil head into their encounter with Ecuador boasting a strong record on home soil, having won each of their last seven World Cup qualifiers without conceding a goal.

The five-time World Cup winners are also unbeaten in their last nine international meetings against Ecuador, and a victory on Saturday would ensure they stay at the summit of the CONMEBOL table.

Ecuador manager Gustavo Alfaro pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Like Brazil, Ecuador have had a strong start to their qualification campaign, winning three of their opening four matches.

Gustavo Alfaro's side quickly brushed aside a narrow 1-0 defeat to Argentina in their first game by winning their next three fixtures against Uruguay, Bolivia and Colombia.

Ecuador thrashed the latter 6-1 in Quito with six different players on the scoresheet. Goals from Robert Arboleda, Angel Mena, Michael Estrada and Xavier Arreaga helped the hosts race into a 4-1 lead at half time, before second-half strikes from Gonzalo Plata and Pervis Estupinan sealed the nation's biggest victory since they thumped Peru 6-0 back in June 1975.

La Tri now sit third in the current standings, one point behind Argentina in second and two points behind early pacesetters and Saturday's opponents Brazil.

Even though Ecuador will be pleased with how they have begun their qualification campaign, they actually had a better start to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, winning all four of ther opening matches. However, La Tri only managed to win two of their next 14 games and finished seven points adrift of the top four.

Alfaro will be keen to ensure that such a poor run of form is not replicated this time around, and that his Ecuador side can build on their strong start in 2021. Victory on Saturday, however, is seemingly unlikely against South American powerhouse Brazil, a nation they last beat back in November 2004.

Brazil World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Brazil form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Ecuador World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Ecuador form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Neymar in action for Brazil on September 10, 2019© Reuters

Brazil goalkeepers Ederson and Weverton have started two games each during the qualifiers so far, but with the return of Liverpool stopper Alisson Becker to the squad, he could be recalled to the first XI.

A back four of Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Renan Lodi – which has begun all four qualifiers – is unlikely to be changed by Tite, while Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz could keep his place in central midfield.

Paris Saint-Germain talisman Neymar, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory over Peru last year, is in contention to start this weekend and make his 104th international appearance, which would put him one cap behind Lucio who is fourth on the all-time list.

The 29-year-old could be joined in a three-man attack by Roberto Firmino and Richarlison, though Gabriel Jesus will also be pushing for a place in the starting lineup.

As for Ecuador, Arboleda and Arreaga are set to partner each other in the heart of the defence, while one of Estupinan or Diego Palacios is expected to play at left-back.

Central midfielders Moises Caicedo and Jhegson Mendez are likely to keep their places in the starting lineup, with 36-year-old Christian Noboa set to begin the game as a substitute.

Forward Enner Valencia – who is just one goal away from becoming Ecuador's outright all-time record goalscorer, as he is currently level on 31 strikes with Agustin Delgado – is likely to return to the first XI and could start alongside Mena and Estrada.

Plata, who was sent off late in the game against Colombia, will serve a one-match suspension on Saturday, but will be back in contention for their next fixture against Peru on Tuesday.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, T. Silva, Lodi; Luiz, Casemiro, Paqueta; Richarlison, Firmino, Neymar

Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Dominguez; Preciado, Arreaga, Arbodela, Estupinan; Gruezo, M. Caicedo, Mendez; Mena, Estrada, Valencia

SM words green background

We say: Brazil 3-1 Ecuador

Both Brazil and Ecuador have been impressive in the early stages of CONMEBOL World Cup qualification, and with the net being found a combined 25 times between the two teams, goals are to be expected on Saturday.

The hosts will be the strong favourites for this encounter and we expect their quality to shine through in Porto Alegre, to maintain their 100% record with another victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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