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Portugal vs Ecuador Preview

February 4, 2013 By Mike Goncalves
Paulo Bento called up a number of new faces to take on Ecuador at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques.

Portugal and Ecuador will go head to head on Wednesday for the first time ever. The Portuguese are ranked 7th in the latest FIFA ranking while Ecuador is 12th, the highest ranking they have ever had in their history.

Not only is Ecuador's 12th position shocking, but the fact that they are second in South America only behind Argentina who is ranked third is very impressive. They have managed to surpass countries like Brazil and Uruguay who have had a serious impact in world football over the years.

Ecuador's manager Reinaldo Rueda expects to see a well played match between two great teams.

 

"We need to be an organized team with a positive collective mentality," he said.

"The players reacted well to the jet lag from the flight and I think with a few more hours of rest they will be fine."

The Ecuadorian side arrived in Portugal on Saturday, having already held a practice session on Portuguese soil. Jaime Ayovi who represents Al Nassr in Saudia Arabia will be the last one to arrive on Tuesday, one day before the match. 

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia and former Sporting CP striker Caicedo joined their teammates on Sunday.

Paulo Bento opted to make some changes to the list of players he called up. After some disappointing performances against Northern Ireland, Russia and Gabon, the Portuguese manager is interested in testing out some of the younger prospects coming through the system.

Benfica midfielder Andre Gomes has earned Bento's confidence with the youngster starting to contribute regularly for his club side. Nelson Oliveira, who is on loan with Deportivo La Coruna, also got called up after Hugo Almeida picked up a late injury and had to pull out of the match.

The Portuguese manager is looking to not only get a glimpse of what some of the younger players can offer, but he also wants to make sure they are able to correct and work on some of the issues that have hurt them as of late.

"In this friendly we want to play well, work on our general game plan and achieve a positive result," said the Portuguese manager.

"This will be our last friendly before our matches against Israel and Azerbaijan. We will look to put out our best lineup in an attempt to do what we have been doing as of late."

 

Portuguese Squad

Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (BB Istanbul), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Joao Pereira (Valencia), Miguel Lopes (Sporting), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Zenit), Luis Neto (Zenit), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Sereno (Valladolid)

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (FC Porto), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Custodio (Braga), Andre Gomes (Benfica), Ruben Amorim (Braga), Danny (Zenit)

Forwards: Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Helder Postiga (Zaragoza), Eder (Braga), Nelson Oliveira (Deportivo La Coruna), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto)

 

Ecuadorian Squad

Goalkeepers: Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC), Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito)

Defenders: Jorge Guagua (Deportivo Quito), Frickson Erazo (Barcelona SC), Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona SC), Eduardo Morantes (LDU Quito), Gabriel Achillier (Emelec), Oscar Bagui (Emelec)

Midfielders: Henry Leon (Independiente Jose Teran), Segundo Castillo (Puebla), Luis Saritama (LDU Quito), Christian Noboa (Dynamo Moskva), Renato Ibarra (Vitesse), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Forwards: Jaime Ayovi (Al Nassr), Christian Benitez (America), Jefferson Montero (Monarcas Morelia), Felipe Caicedo (Lokomotiv)

 

Prediction

Ecuador's 12th rank should be just another reason as to why Portugal should have some added respect for their opponent. With only four players who feature in European League's, Ecuador will have nothing to lose on Wednesday against a Portuguese side that constantly under achieves.

Portugal's previous performances against sides like Northern Ireland and Gabon left Portuguese fans hoping for better.

Paulo Bento is starting to feel the pressure and he has now decided to inject some youth and new ideas into the squad. 

This match may not be the ideal one to watch if you are looking for an all around great performance for Portugal given that it is a friendly, but at least the fans will be able to see what the Portuguese youngsters can offer their national team.

Playing at the highest level along side players who they may have idolized growing up should give them some early jitters, but it will offer them a world of experience and knowledge. 

The difference in talent should dictate this match, but as we have all seen, the Portuguese do not always impress. Ecuador enters the match as the underdog and they will be out to prove that they deserve their 12th spot in the FIFA ranking, ahead of Brazil and Uruguay.

If the Portuguese players take this match lightly, they could be in for yet another very frustrating match.

Portugal 2-1 Ecuador

Follow Mike Goncalves on Twitter

 




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