Brazil Vs. Ecuador Preview.
March 29, 5:00 PM (Eastern Time).
Quito Ecuador, Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa (Capacity 40,000).
Brazil, under the direction of Carlos Dunga, have already arrived in Rio De Janeiro in the hope of improving their tally of points in the South American World Cup Qualifiers.
The Selecao have a hard schedule ahead of them and will be looking to take a big step towards securing their spot in South Africa with a win. Their journey will continue on Sunday as they travel to the lofty Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa to take on Ecuador.
The last time these two sides met, Ecuador were on the receiving end of a 5-0 thrashing. However, Brazil will face a different proposition on Sunday.
Ecuador have become a far more difficult team to break down since then, and have not allowed more than a goal in their home matches. Needless to say, Dunga's men will have to be up for the challenge if they are to do the double over their South American neighbors.
Ecuador's front line is dangerous, led by Premier League trio Felipe Caicedo, Antonio Valencia, and Segundo Castillo. This trio could cause Brazil all sorts of problems if they continue their run of lacklustre displays in the qualifiers.
Since their last meeting, Brazil's fortunes have also changed, following some sizzling displays against Portugal and Italy. Robinho, Ronaldinho, and Elano have all been on top form for the Selecao and it seems like the Samba flair is back and better than ever.
With that said, Ecuador could bring Dunga and the boys back to reality with a bang.
For Brazil, new addition Felipe Melo impressed hugely and is expected to once again marshall the midfield alongside Elano, Ronaldinho, and Kaka, who still remains a doubt despite his call-up.
Players to Watch
A.C Milan's young prodigy is tipped by many as the heir to Ronaldo and the future of the Selecao.
He has 17 Goals this season and shows no signs of slowing down, and his pace may be the key to unlocking a difficult Ecuadorian defence. Dunga has been cautious with him, but I think he will get at least 20 minutes to wreak havoc when Adriano peters out.
Manchester City's bench warmer has put in some show stopping displays with the Selecao of late, and has repaid Dunga's faith in him by scoring in Brazil's last two games.
Elano orchestrates the midfield well and seems to be involved in every Brazilian attack.
Well what can I say about little Robson? When it comes to Brazil games he's always a threat. Take a look at his goal against Italy, it's vintage Robinho!
His antics off the field might be unsavoury, but he's a class player on it.
The Premier League midfielder has been in sizzling form for Wigan, and Brazil's defence will have their hands full in dealing with him. Valencia has been linked with a transfer to Manchester United—such rumors don't materialise if you're not good.
The PSV Eindhoven winger is Ecuador's leading scorer this season, and just like Valencia, he will have the Brazilian defence on their heals.
Here are the respective Squads:
Goalkeepers: Jose Francisco Cevallos (Liga Deportiva Universitaria), Marcelo Elizaga (Emelec), Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC)
Defenders: Neicer Reasco, Jairo Campos, Paul Ambrossi (all Liga Deportiva Universitaria), Miguel Ibarra (Espoli), Giovanni Espinoza (Barcelona SC), Jorge Guagua (El Nacional), Ivan Hurtado (Millonarios), Isaac Mina (Deportivo Quito), Deyson Mendez (Espoli)
Midfielders: Segundo Castillo (Everton), Edison Mendez (PSV Eindhoven), Antonio Valencia (Wigan), Cristian Noboa (Rubin Kazan), Joffre Guerron (Getafe), Walter Ayovi (Monterrey), David Quiroz (Emelec), Patricio Urrutia (all Liga Deportiva Universitaria), Jefferson Montero (Independiente del Valle Jose Teran)
Forwards: Felipe Caicedo (Manchester City), Cristian Benitez (Santos Laguna), Pablo Palacios (Barcelona SC), Walter Calderon (all Liga Deportiva Universitaria), Joao Rojas (Emelec)
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Doni (AS Roma)
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Inter Milan), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Miranda (Sao Paulo), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), Luisao (Benfica), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Kleber (Internacional)
Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Josue (VfL Wolfsburg), Anderson (Manchester United), Felipe Melo (Fiorentina), Elano (Manchester City), Julio Baptista (AS Roma), Kaka (AC Milan), Ronaldinho (AC Milan)
Forwards: Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Adriano (Inter Milan), Robinho (Manchester City)
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