It’s just as well that Ecuador head coach Gustavo Alfaro is at peace. His team has impressed at the World Cup so far, winning 2-0 over host nation Qatar and humbling the Netherlands in a battling 1-1 tie that assured Ecuador’s international credentials.
In La Tri’s final Group A match against Senegal at the Khalifa International Stadium, our Ecuador predicted lineup will need just a tie to progress to the Round of 16, while Senegal needs a win to progress. Ecuador will try to keep “making history,” in what has been described as a final. This is only the most important game of his and his young team’s career. With the stakes so high, it’s a wonder Alfaro seems so cool.
Ecuador Predicted Lineup vs Senegal in Group A Final
Adaptable Ecuador is tactically fluid
It seems as though the team has clung to this mantra of calm throughout the entire tournament. Captain Enner Valencia called for it after scoring against Qatar, and Alfaro repeated much the same in his FIFA pre-game press conference. He insisted Ecuador has done the hard work already.
“I am calm and convinced that we have done our homework, we have done, up to here, everything that Ecuador thought we could do.
“The hope is that tomorrow we have the football, performance, strength, and luck, which, with respect to Senegal, who I think is a great team, will permit us to keep going.
“I believe that, till this point, we’ve accumulated the merits to do so.”
Ecuador gained those merits after displaying tactically fluid football by lining up in two different formations in its two matches. Having shown the ability to use different systems during CONMEBOL qualifying, the only surprises were which formations it used. Against Qatar, Ecuador got on the front foot by using a 4-4-2 which allowed it to score two early goals and kill off the game within 31 minutes.
In its Dutch test, however, Alfaro sent Ecuador out in 3-5-2 which resembled a 3-4-3 at times. Ecuador moved in and out of these formations against the Dutch to great effect, depending on whether they had the ball. It allowed it to match and eventually outshine the Netherlands’ technical superiority. By the end, even Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal had to admit Ecuador was the better team.
Ecuador displayed some of its most attractive and potent football in months in this formation, so look for Alfaro to replicate it against Senegal.
Read More: Three inches and a crossbar deny Ecuador famous Netherlands win
🔥 ¡Hoy juega nuestra Selección, carajo!
🏟 Estadio Internacional Jalifa
🗓 Fecha # 3
🕚 10h00 (ECU)
JC: Clement Turpin🇫🇷
A1: Nicolas Danos🇫🇷
A2: Cyril Gringore🇫🇷
4to: Istvan Kovacs🇷🇴
VAR: Jerome Brisard🇫🇷#HaremosHistoria🇪🇨 pic.twitter.com/eXCYiVvOJ1
— La Tri 🇪🇨 (@LaTri) November 29, 2022
Ecuador’s Group A Form and Tactics
Ecuador have been one of the most surprising teams in the tournament so far in Qatar. Captain Enner Valencia is tied in the Golden Boot race with France’s Kylian Mbappé, with both talismans on three a piece. Valencia has now scored his country’s last six World Cup goals and has led Ecuador with aplomb. For his efforts, his image now looks down over all of Doha from the Al Reem Tower in the city centre.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing, though. Ecuador will need someone to step up and shoulder some of the goal-scoring burden, as Senegal will assuredly key in on Valencia. Winger Gonzalo Plata almost scored the game-winner against the Netherlands, while left-back Pervis Estupiñán had a goal called back against the Dutch, but was a constant attacking threat throughout. His shot created the rebound that Valencia pounced on to level the score against the Netherlands.
José Cifuentes has shown an eye for goal with his club team, and with Jhegson Méndez being suspended through yellow card accumulation, could get the nod and be expected to provide a spark.
Read More: France Predicted Lineup vs. Australia with an Injury-Stricken Side
🌟 La imagen de nuestro goleador histórico, @EnnerValencia14, ya luce en el Centro de Conferencias Al Reem Tower en Doha.
📸 Envíanos tu foto con el fondo del edificio y muestra tu orgullo por #LaTri#HaremosHistoria🇪🇨 pic.twitter.com/MRW3yv9PHX
— La Tri 🇪🇨 (@LaTri) November 28, 2022
Ecuador Injuries to Consider
In what has become somewhat of a high-stress game, 18 million Ecuadorians will once again wait on Valencia’s fitness. He left the field injured for the second straight match, this time being stretchered off. He was able to participate in Ecuador’s final training session, though, and Alfaro has claimed before that if his captain can play, “not even fire can keep him out.” Ecuador’s most important player is also its only real injury concern, unfortunately.
Ecuador Predicted Lineup
Galindez; Hincapié, Torres, Porozo; Estupiñán, Caicedo, Gruezo, Preciado; Plata, Valencia, Estrada
Jackson Porozo will almost certainly keep his place in a back-three defence, and someone could make their first World Cup start if Valencia can’t play. Either Cifuentes or Brighton’s Jeremy Sarmiento could get the opportunity here, with Sarmiento’s involvement in Ecuador’s first two matches boding well for his chances. Cifuentes will offer Alfaro a bit more defensive work and strength. He’ll be the best option against a Senegal team that can match Ecuador for pace and power.
This is of course if Ecuador’s all-time goal leader isn’t fit. Perhaps Alfaro is so calm because he knows something we don’t. As before, look for Superman to fly to his team’s rescue and start.