Argentina vs Ecuador: Preview and Prediction

Argentina begin their Copa America preparations with two warm-up games, with the first one coming against tournament rivals Ecuador in Chicago.

The USA has suddenly become a hub for some of the top sports tournaments around the world, with the ICC World T20 in cricket set to be followed by the Copa America. They will also host 2026, and it will be a good chance for many of South American sides to gauge the conditions before making the bow in the grand tournament two years later. Two of them face off on Sunday, with Argentina and Ecuador going head-to-head this weekend.

For now, all eyes are on the Copa America and the star names that come with the tournament. There is no more prominent figure than Lionel Messi, as his Argentina side will be the highlight of the competition. Fans are expected to flock everywhere they go, starting with the warm-up clash against Ecuador in Chicago.

Argentina are coming into this clash in a good vein of form, going unbeaten in 11 of the 12 games since lifting the World Cup. The only defeat they suffered was against Uruguay, while they managed to travel to Brazil and beat them 1-0. Messi & Co will now look forward to mirroring what Spain did over in Europe in the last decade as they aim to win back-to-back Copa America titles and sandwich the World Cup between them.

Felix Sanchez will want his Ecuador side to perform better than they did against Argentina during their meeting in the World Cup qualifying rounds. Their campaign so far has produced three wins, two draws, and a solitary defeat, which came against Argentina, courtesy of a Messi goal.

Overall, Ecuador has been solid and could mount a big challenge on some of the traditional big teams of the Copa America this season. Heading into the tournament at the back of a big performance against a team like Argentina would be high on Sanchez’s list, as they will look for a complete performance in Chicago.

Team News & Tactics


Argentina does not have any fitness-related concerns, although Lionel Scaloni will want to use these warm-up games to build up the fitness of some of his key stars. Most notably, Manchester United star Lisandro Martinez is part of that group.

The defender has missed the last few months with an injury and will need consistent game time before the Copa America begins. He will have Tottenham mainstay Cristian Romero as his partner at the back, while Scaloni could hand-start Gonzalo Montiel and Alejandro Garnacho against Ecuador.

Lionel Messi will headline the attacking setup, while Lautaro Martinez is expected to feature up front and will hope to become his manager’s first-choice striker, with Julian Alvarez also vying for the spot in the finals. In the midfield, Spurs man Giovani Lo Celso could feature in this clash, while Scaloni will keep a closer look at Enzo Fernandez’s fitness, and should the Chelsea man miss out, then Guido Rodriguez might come in his place.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Acuna; Fernandez, Paredes, Lo Celso; Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Garnacho


Ecuador are not a team to be underestimated, as they have some notable stars in their squad that could make a difference. This is a side boasting the energy of the youth and the right mix of experienced stars, like their striker Enner Valencia, who will incidentally partner teenage sensation Kendry Paez.

They will, however, miss Pervis Estupinan for the summer tournament as the Brighton & Hove Albion left-back is nursing an ankle problem. Fellow Seagulls winger Jeremy Sarmiento will likely replace him in the lineup, as the manager will have to gauge his talent in that wing-back role in these warm-up games.

There are some notable names for Ecuador to rely upon, with Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo likely to sit at the base of their midfield and dictate proceedings. Similarly, in a back three, Bayer Leverkusen star Piero Hincapie will assume his role on the left side of the backline, as the Ecuadorian defence will have to deal with the threat of the Argentine attackers.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Dominguez; Pacho, Torres, Hincapie; Preciado, Caicedo, Ortiz, Gruezo, Sarmiento; Paez, Valencia

Key Stats

  • Argentina have been unbeaten in 11 of their last 12 international fixtures.
  • Argentina have won their last three international games.
  • Ecuador are unbeaten in five of their last six World Cup qualifying games.
  • Ecuador’s only defeat in that period came against Argentina.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Embed from Getty Images

The Argentine superstar has a bigger audience in the US, and he will be in the spotlight when the Inter Miami superstar leads his Argentina side against Ecuador and later in the Copa America. Messi has had some rusty performances in the domestic season, but we may expect him to shine when donning the national colours.

For one, he will feel the need to be at his sharpest when the tournament begins, and these warm-up games are a big chance for him to get his rhythm back. Hence, we can expect Messi to put in a big performance against Ecuador and get his Argentina side going ahead of the big defence of their Copa America title.


Argentina 2-1 Ecuador

Ecuador have some notable players, and their manager likes to play with a fluid structure that has found success in recent times. However, they have often faltered against some of the big teams, notably Argentina, and that might be the case in Chicago.

Argentina will want to get going correctly, as Lionel Scaloni will demand a win to kick-start their time in the US. With the world champions coming into this tournament as favourites, they will be expected to scrap past their South American counterparts and put on a show for the watching audience.

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