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2024 Copa América Heats Up: Argentina vs Ecuador – Who Will Reach the Semis?

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Here we go, the stage is all set for the 2024 Copa América quarter-finals as ruling champions Argentina wrangle with Ecuador. Both teams come into the match with disparate fortunes in the group stage but a place in the semi-finals hangs in the balance.

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Argentina: Dominating Form and Messi’s Return

Argentina has been playing absolutely amazing in the Copa América, winning every single game in the group stages without any hiccups. They’ve been like a fortress in defense, not letting in even one goal. And let’s talk about Lautaro Martínez, the man has been on fire up front, scoring a whopping four goals, which is the best in the tournament so far.

Image Credit Via Opta Analyst

The return of Lionel Messi after a minor hamstring scare adds another dimension to Argentina’s attack. With a full squad at his disposal, manager Lionel Scaloni will be confident of extending their winning streak.

Ecuador: Underdogs with Ambition

Despite a shaky start with a defeat to Venezuela, Ecuador showed resilience to qualify for the knockout stages. A convincing win over Jamaica and a gritty draw against Mexico secured their second-place finish in Group B.

Head Coach Félix Sánchez is aware of the challenge they face but believes his team can cause an upset. Ecuador boasts a young and talented squad, with 17-year-old wonderkid Kendry Paez already attracting interest from top European clubs. Paez’s energy and tenacity in midfield will be crucial for Ecuador’s hopes.

TeamStat
ArgentinaWon last 8 matches
ArgentinaNever lost to Ecuador at Copa América (11 wins, 5 draws)
Lautaro Martínez (Argentina)Leads Golden Boot race with 4 goals
Kendry Paez (Ecuador)Most ball recoveries in Group B (19)
Argentina68.4% chance of winning (Opta supercomputer)

Prediction

While Argentina are clear favorites based on historical dominance and current form, underestimating Ecuador’s determination would be a mistake. Argentina’s experience and Messi’s presence on the pitch might prove too much to handle for a young Ecuadorian side. However, football is full of surprises, and Ecuador will be aiming to write their own story in this high-stakes encounter.

Image Credit via Opta Analyst

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