Asia Cup finalists Japan will face off with Ecuador at the Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto on Tuesday for their last outings of the group stage in this summer’s Copa America. There is little hope for Ecuador in their bid to make it through to the next round and they will have lost confidence with poor performances, and Japan should be proud of themselves for taking a point against one of the tournament favourites, Uruguay, last time out. For the Asian side there is still a chance to progress to the quarter finals, but at the very least they will need to find three points from this one.
The lead up to the Copa America proved difficult for Ecuador as they were winless in their four matches prior to the opening encounter with Uruguay. A defeat against the USA and two stalemates versus Honduras and Venezuela would have done nothing to boost belief within the camp, and that as followed up by a 3-2 loss versus Mexico who are competing in the Gold Cup this year. In front of a crowd of 13,611, Ecuador were put to the sword by a rampant Uruguay who looked ravenous for goals and displayed absolutely no mercy towards their opponents. A sending off for Jose Quinteros did not help their bid to pick up a result, with the right-back receiving the red card less than twenty-five minutes into the affair. His team were already down by one goal at that point, and strikes from Cavani and Suarez made sure all three points were out of Ecuador’s grasp before half time. The defeat was compounded by an own goal from Arturo Mina twelve minutes from time, and that result left Ecuador in a real predicament in terms of their chances of going any further in this tournament.
Japan arrived in the Copa America of 2019 with excitement and belief, having already made it to one major international tournament final earlier in the year. Despite losing to Qatar, they will have taken a great deal of experience from the Asia Cup, and that was evident in their meeting with Uruguay. After looking down and out against 2016 winners Chile, where a 4-0 beating was handed to Hajime Moriyasu’s men, Japan then met Uruguay for their second matchup of the tournament. Koji Miyoshi shocked everyone when he provided his team with the lead after just twenty-five minutes, and seven minutes later the score was level as Luis Suarez struck home from twelve yards. Half time came and went, and fifteen minutes into the second half Miyoshi got on the scoresheet again virtue of an error from opposition goalkeeper Muslera. The lead didn’t last long at all, with Jose Gimenez grabbing the equaliser with a neat header, but that performance showed everything that Japan are capable of and if they perform to that standard here, they’ll have a fantastic chance of beating Ecuador.
It’s highly unlikely that Ecuador will attempt to use the 4-2-3-1 that worked so badly against Uruguay in any future Copa America matches, and their style will probably end up being more defensive as time goes on. That’s not to say that there is no attacking talent in their squad, as Enner Valencia and Antonio Valencia are more than capable at providing a threat in the final third. Arturo Mina will be hoping for a better showing of his qualities here, as will Beder Caicedo and Angel Mena. We expect Ecuador to remain with four at the back, but perhaps switching to the 4-1-4-1 they used against Mexico and Honduras. Cristian Ramirez may be forced to miss out due to injury, but other than that there are no concerns.
Japan have no problems regarding injuries within the squad, which will be a huge plus for the team going into a vital final fixture in Group C. In the defeat to Chile, they attempted to go for a 4-2-3-1, which obviously went in favour of their opponents and saw them obliterated in humiliating fashion. Manager Moriyasu decided to switch things up and go for a solid 4-4-2 versus Uruguay, and due to the positive nature of his teams performance in that matchup we can see them repeating that line up for this one. Shinji Okazaki will likely start up front, with Gaku Shibasaki and Ko Itakura behind him in midfield.
This pair are not particularly rampant in front of goal at the moment, with Ecuador’s attacker struggling to make a real impact on the matches in which they’ve played. Japan looks the better of the two, and we can see them keeping a clean sheet from this one, so BTTS “No” with Bet365 at 1/1 is a bet we highly recommend. Rather surprisingly, Bet365 have the Asian side as the underdogs for this meeting at 5/2, compared to Ecuador at 21/20. For this reason, we are going for Japan to earn maximum points from these ninety minutes at that price. Koji Miyoshi will be brimming with confidence having bagged two goals in the match against Uruguay, and at 17/2 to score again during this one it’s almost impossible to keep our eyes from Bet365’s excellent odds on that occurrence.