Three specific things to watch for in Argentina vs. Ecuador

This is what it all comes down to. Later tonight, the Argentina national team will play its most important match since the 2014 World Cup Final. The Copa America final matches were important, but tonight’s crucial duel will decide whether La Albiceleste even gets to participate in next summer’s World Cup. All the pressure is on for Jorge SAMPAOLI’s men in Quito against Ecuador.

Jorge SAMPAOLI’s Substitutions

Argentina manager Jorge SAMPAOLI has drawn some criticism of late because of his player selections and tactical formations. The team hasn’t been able to win a competitive match under SAMPAOLI, with three-consecutive draws putting Argentina’s World Cup hopes in jeopardy. With all that said, Argentina hasn’t played poorly in any of the three matches; they’ve conceded just one goal and were hard-lucked to not score at least one themselves in the draw against Peru on Thursday.

But it’s been SAMPAOLI’s substitutions that have left a lot to be desired, primarily in the match against Peru. The manager had reportedly been flirting with the idea of starting Leandro PAREDES in midfield instead of Lucas BIGLIA, but elected to go with the latter, a more defensive player. BIGLIA played well, but his midfield partner, Ever BANEGA, did not and was substituted. It was the perfect match for PAREDES to come in and spray passes around the pitch, but instead SAMPAOLI brought in Fernando GAGO, an oft-injured 31-year-old who could only play five minutes before being needed to be substituted with injury (the third and final sub).

Argentina went home with one point and with Mauro ICARDI and Paulo DYBALA not getting one second of playing time. That can’t happen again, no matter the supposed injury to ICARDI and the lack of chemistry between DYBALA and Leo MESSI. Both ICARDI and DYBALA need to at least get a chance to change the game tonight, though it’ll have to be off the bench.

Argentina Midfield Creating Scoring Chances

I probably sound like a broken record by this point, but Argentina’s midfield has to create something in order for the team to score goals and win. MESSI can only do so much from his No. 10 position. He does more than enough in terms of materializing scoring chances out of nothing, but he needs help. BANEGA has been of no help in this qualifying cycle, and he’s been dropped for tonight’s game because of it. BIGLIA is not a creator and neither is Enzo PEREZ, who is expected to slot in for BANEGA. Who does that leave? Javier MASCHERANO, who will play as a free-ranging center back that has the freedom to venture forward and pick out players with long passes, just like he did extremely well against Peru.

In addition to MASCHERANO, Angel DI MARIA and the other midfielders/wingers must create from the flanks. Marcos ACUÑA will have his hands full covering behind DI MARIA, but he’s more than capable of swinging in dangerous crosses. Eduardo SALVIO looks likely to get the start on the right wing, where he’s adept at beating defenders with his quickness and slotting in key passes with his right foot. MESSI can give other players chances to score goals often, but he needs the others to reciprocate in this crucial match.

Argentina’s Players in the Altitude

It’s been talked about enough, but it’s absolutely something worth mentioning. For as long as anyone can remember, La Albiceleste has struggled to perform against teams that play in high altitudes, primarily Bolivia and Ecuador (tonight’s opponent). Argentina hasn’t won in La Paz against Bolivia since 2005 and in Quito against Ecuador since 2001. Now, these are unforeseen circumstances that haven’t been demanded in the past, but Argentina’s players will struggle to breathe and keep up an uptempo pace for the duration of the match. It’ll be massive for the team if they can get an early goal so that they can settle into a possession-based match.

133 Comments

  1. Sanjoy dey

    We played well .but we miss lots of change in front goal.no matter was in the team or not.Dybala and Icardi get their chance in upcoming matches

  2. Antonio Montana

    Argentina played better against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru… but Messi made two goals outta Ecuador mistakes and then the first was genius through the legs of the keeper! On another day we lose 1-0 in this game and win 4-0 against Venezuela and Peru … so we aren’t as bad as the ties against Uruguay , Peru and Venezuela and aren’t as good as the victory today. We need to build… we get players like pastore, aguero and rojo back soon … acuna and salvio are not starters … Benedetto played solid but icardi or higuain is more ideal. Would love to aguero on the left of Messi and dybala on right but the midfield needs Pastore in it as well

    1. Souvik Biswas

      I don’t think argentina can play dybala, aguero, messi together. There is a reason we can’t play possesion football like barca, real. We are not a balanced team like them. First of all as a team we lack defensive speed meaning if the the defenders push up to join attack they cannot get back quickly to defend. To give extra cover to defense we play 2 holding MFs. This is why our lines are so far apart.

      Today we scored goals (& messi played superb) but you also have to acknowledge ecuador played very open unlike peru, venezuela. Messi was afforded space today.

      But I don’t think in WC our opponents will play like that. Over last few years we really struggle against park the bus teams (remember 2014 WC iran match etc). Balanced teams generally deal with this in couple of ways. Typically they have a good CM who can dristibute to the offensive line quickly and extremely fast fullback / wingers who can strech the opponent backline. But I think everybody admits we are far from achieving that balance in the NT. It would be interesting to see how sampaoli solve this conundrum but I am sure that it would involve di maria is some form. He is the 2nd most important attacking player for us after messi

    2. pallab

      No Higuain please

  3. david carvajal

    I can finally sleep tonighr!!!!!!! The first goal of the game scared me to death

  4. santanu mallick

    What a game…… thank you lionel thank you for the show….. a world class hattrick from the best player in the world…. once again thank you lionel… Guys we are in the world cup finals… Next mission is to win the bloody World Cup and end the legacy…. congrats guyssss…

  5. San Isidro

    All I have to say is Thank God…and thank Messi

  6. Sabellista

    Congratulation to every here on Mundo. I’m not gonna say much let’s judt enjoy the moment without negativity. This was the most difficult part. The team ain’t perfect but from now Sampaoli can experiment with personnel. All I know is that We need a faster team. Messi needs runners around him to produce magic.

    1. pallab

      Messi needs some pacy partners. ..
      Messi Biglia Dimaria look wow

  7. KidultHood

    Outlaw have always been a disguise TROLL masquerading here as an Argentina super scout.. This was a total team performance at altitude. Even Benedetto played well with his off the ball running and hold up play. Messi, Di Maria, Mascherano, Otamendi, Enzo, Acuna, Mercardo, and Biglia also had a great game. The only player didn’t play well was Salvio.

    1. SulaV

      Kid.. you have been blaming Outlaw for last 4 years now man!!

      1. KidultHood

        The guy act like a spoiled kid at the super market who didn’t get what he wanted then start crying and rolling around on the store floor to make a point to his parents..lol

    2. Gonzalo

      Yup, I always going to watch Argentina league for hours just to disguise better to be troll. That briliant thought may come only from KidulHood’s mind.

      BTW

      Now I see finally you are really coward. Only coward is attacking when in crowd. You just wait to kick in crowd like typical cowards. You are the one who were running away from here for months everytime when Argentina failed in crucial moments, and your predictions failed. Flee not to be kicked by angry crowd. Now you feel strong in crowd, only when 99% people is disagree with me. Always act like coward ‘par excellence’.

      Now see and learn what is to be straight, I don’t need to flee as you.

  8. KidultHood

    Messi should definitely get the BDOR after this performance, no doubt!

    1. MMH

      I think so aswell. He just did what nobody did or think before

  9. KidultHood

    Nobody gets a medal for winning CONMEBOL qualifier, what matters is the world cup. Now Argentina can focus on the world cup because the media favorites will be Germany, Brazil, Spain and France. After what these players been through over the last year or so, now I don’t expect them to melt during a semifinal or final world cup game come next year.

    1. arg2018

      I think we all believe so but i dont think it is the right moment to say that. Just imagine the scenario of Argentina missing WC and compare with this result, it is pretty fuc*** awesome. It is time to celebrate. Hope lady luck will shine next time on.

  10. Gokul

    Vamos Argentina.!
    Didn’t expected this from our guys.!
    But you delivered.
    With Argentina always 😍
    Now Sampoli has Time.
    Let him make a Team, to stun the world in Russia.

  11. SulaV

    Thank you Ecaudor for not parking the bus!!!! If they had a chance they would have but they didn’t thank you!!

  12. MMH

    I used to Respect Gonzalo but seeing his this behaviour and comments after making history i feel yaaak.
    Come on g. Don’t be like that. Celebrate. Don’t come with stupid excuses. Don’t make more fool yourself

    1. arg2018

      What did he do? I think Real sold him beacause he though he was better than Cristano Ronaldo let alone Benzema. Same thing happening in Juventus, he thinks he is better than Dybala, just look at his celebration, they are full of self ego just like CR while CR is better than him(how ever way below than Messi).

    2. Gonzalo

      MMH

      My “Great but…” is my deepest feelings. Feel of happy with grain of salt. I have a ‘deja vu’. Completely convinced we have not a team and this way we may beat only team like Ecuador.

      1. MMH

        Are you really A FAN of Argentina. You need to celebrate. We have a ton of time brother. Don’t worry. Forget those. Now just enjoy. Sorry if I hurt you 🙂
        Forgive me

  13. SulaV

    Sampaoli has 9 months to build this team….we need better fullbacks… i had have said a lot of bad stuff against Rojo but under mourino he had one heck of a season… we need a playmaker!!! Banega is not a play maker that will get us the wc!!! Good luck Sampaoli!! Vamos Argentina!!

    1. MMH

      You think he would not do that. Just watch we will be a formidable force

  14. Raj

    Time to celebrate. All Argentina fans, today is our day and the GOAT just showed his class. For Messi haters please do have a drink and go to bed. This is the first of many drinks you need to have. Am sure I see posts from some who instead of celebrating the qualification, is talking crap about how we are not a team and so on. Till Messi is there Argentina has a chance to win the cup. Sorry to say my last hope is this WC and next. Talent in Argentina is at all time low. Let us have a bash and hope Sampaoli makes a good team of the available talent.

    Another point to cheer is Chile is out of world cup. Thank god the 3 points they were given in their loss to Bolivia did not count.

    Vamos Argentina

  15. Prabesh

    Such a long relief and now sampaoli should build a team in next four matches especially in midfield and gk watch out world sampaoli is coming to Russia

  16. Nukleuz

    As I told you last day, will this Argentina does the same thing like Brazil in 2002? Runner up in 1998, struggle till the last game to qualify for 2002 WC and grab the title. We can do exact same thing and I believe. Come on guys!!

    1. Suresh

      Yes that is the plan..

    2. Antonio Montana

      We dominated for through the 2002 World Cup qualifers ! The greatest we have ever done … what are you talking about

  17. KidultHood

    Peru 26 Points – Chile 26 Points

    Peru 27 goals scored & 26 goals conceded

    Chile 26 goals scored & 27 goals conceded

    Peru made the playoffs by a +1 goal difference over Chile!

    1. SulaV

      whole qualifiers was really tight!! Had parguay won they would have qualified today!!

  18. Suresh

    So happy that my hero scored a hattrick and beloved team qualified as well, Team needs little changes which sampaoli knows this is just the start and he will build a better team around messi..Happy that icardi came in and almost scored a goal,that was good team move and really liked it.
    Team will sure play great in world cup and win the cup.

  19. MMH

    KID was right Venezuela did beat Paraguay 🙂

    1. KidultHood

      I told you man Venezuela was going to win or tie Paraguay!

      1. MMH

        Yes you did:))

  20. Lester Brisco

    We’re in Russia!!! What a game from Messi! He saved us, when we needed him the most! Don’t forget this! I know I wont. See you guys in the World Cup. Vamos Argentina!

  21. Prabesh

    Congrats to all Mundo family vamos vamos argentina vamos vamos

  22. fanOFargentina

    A player like Messi deserves a World Cup…the whole team management needs to focus on building the right team for 2018..I trust Sampaoli..Argentina will fight for the crown next year

  23. arg2018

    Are Chile out of world cup?

    1. Leandro

      Lol YES!

      We are 3rd. Peru plays New Zealand.

      1. arg2018

        It was nice as they grabbed undeserved copa title from Argentina. I am glad, that unlucky team for us is not in Russia.

        1. Dadir10

          And two undeserved points don’t forget that. Peru deserves to go the World Cup.

    2. miskan

      chili are out….

  24. Argentino Trucho

    MESSI! MESSI! MESSI! MESSI! MESSI! MESSI! MESSI!

    Me hace muy feliz el ver el partido! I’m so so so happy! VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS!

    I feel really bad for my friends from Chile though. They didn’t deserve to be out.

  25. MMH

    This win for the REAL FAN who still believed in our players. I am honoured to be with you guys here. All the fake fans please make your excuses and come up with new problem.
    Vamos Argentina

  26. Richard

    Euphoria!!!!
    Messi finally came through!

    1. Cleanball

      Sorry for the Netherland lost and can’t join WC 2018

  27. Cleanball

    Graciass Messsiii, Football has been so great because of you. Unforgetable moment;

  28. ClacKamas

    I could not eat …sleep last 2 nights!!!! I wroaming aly..streets and going to super market to spend time…..couldn’t stay in front of TV

  29. ClacKamas

    GUYS if you could see me now….I am just crying like a baby

    1. Qureshi

      Hey guys I commented yesterday Allah willing Argentina will win and Messi will score brace but today he scored hatrick. Congrats to all mundo fans. Today he proved what he is again. Thanks Allah

  30. Gonzalo

    Great, but it’s obvious, we must start to build team from the scratch. There’s no team.

    1. MMH

      Omg live out g. What is wrong with you. We just made history. Plus you think this win only Messi achieved. FUCK NO. Biglia,Otamendi,Angel,Salvio,Perez,Acuna and others were running like dog. Open your eyes

      1. PAimar

        Agree. Notice how Otamendi f-ed Mercado when the latter was screwing around and lost the ball to a Ecuadorian counter. I’m glad to say Benedetto also did his part. He was the dummy for Messi’s third goal!!! Though I’m not sure if any of the Ecuadorian defenders ran with Benedetto…. Whatever guys! We qualified automatically!!!!!!

        1. MMH

          Otamendi and Biglia is a beast. YES Biglia. You don’t ask a contract killer to romance with the victim. Biglia is a destroyer so he won’t play nice

          1. pallab

            From today no one should blame on Biglia. …
            He played exceptionally well. ..only midfielder tonight….

            Love u biglia
            #LIONMESSI

  31. Majd

    We are going far with sampaoli guys, you are going to see a different argentina from now on, yaaaaaaaaaa

  32. dollon biswas

    Venuzuala-1 paragua-0
    Chuli-0 Brazil 2
    Colombia1 peru1
    We are going to third

    1. jerry dieugeville

      It’s funny some people here well you know who you are..talking about Messi dependency ..this and that..we are going to the World Cup like it or not

  33. chalz

    Amazing…

  34. shovan anwar

    Icardi In

    1. shovan anwar

      And almost scored a goal. Unlucky.
      Vamos Albiceleste.

      Congratulations to all cules. Lets celebrate together instead of bashing each other. We all love the team. Amd we all love Messi.
      Lets enjoy this moment. But the real work starts now. We got unfinished business. Keep faith in Sampaoli.
      Vamos

  35. arg2018

    Messi is playing exactly where he plays for Barcelona; Final third, hence Argentina winning just like Barcelona. IF you look at Baracelona games, when ever Messi plays in complete midfield, they suffer just like Argentina. Stupid Enriques tried that in his tenture in Barca, they only succedd for one season as Suarez carry the burden with Messi of scoring. Hence Messi should be played in front with better midfield other than Biligia.

    1. tmisellati

      i agree

  36. snjv1234

    Plastic fans on Mundo who were commenting against Messi and Messi dependance should hang themselves and suicide today so that we dont see them back on Mundo again.

    Stupid bunch of people . Pls don’t come back.

    1. Gonzalo

      You will see them back again because now we see more and more this team Messi-dependent. And I think even some Messi fans are taking the happy day with grain of salt when seeing the way we are qualifing. It’s happy and scarry. And I will repeat it again and again, even in this moment of Messi triumph that this Messi dependency will lead us nowhere. All what was in the game was only Messi and such a mediocree team against weak Ecuador.

      1. snjv1234

        TAKE OF MESSI FROM THE TEAM AND BRING TEVEZ. THANK YOU

      2. Gonzalo

        What is good for Ecuador will not be good for better teams. Mark my words. Since last World Cup most of teams learned how to handle with this Messi-dependent Argentina.

        1. MMH

          Fuck sake. You are just a pathetic bro

        2. Istiaque

          And every team in the world will beat an Argentina team that doesn’t have messi. Nobody has the skill, will and knowhow to play the game like that guy.

        3. Arjunanmessi

          dont watch world cup… come after messi reitires….. its not messi and others…. messi with 10 = team…. thats it…

  37. imtiaz

    I m wondering what the Argentine media would say now. a tip of advice for the bitters: Don’t fix what ain’t broken. Messi has always been the good part of Argentine football. Its the other 9 guys who are not held responsible for their failure.

  38. waveride

    Vamos Argentina!!

  39. fanOFargentina

    Messi is the best player of the world by a mile..he is doing this at 10000feet

  40. Arnav Bhatara

    Golazo!

    1. jerry dieugeville

      The fucking king Messi …bow down to him

  41. Arjunanmessi

    come on fuckers…. now say….. messssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  42. PAimar

    HAT TRICK FOR GOAT

  43. godboy_messi

    Messi lting down for a minute after the foul shows altitude is taking its toll.

  44. Wahiduzzaman Joy

    Every other results are going to our way

  45. Budi Susatyo

    I don’t care if we play ugly right now as long as this team win..

    Stop judging players or the way they play and keep praying we win this time

  46. fanOFargentina

    Mascherano seems having problem with height…

  47. PAimar

    Yup. Quite clearly. The moment the other team plays an open game and doesn’t lock down hard on Messi, we’ll get chances. ADM playing a more central role beside Messi sort of helps. And seriously, didn’t see much of Benedetto.

    1. Dadir10

      Ecuador goalie is shaky, we need Dybala long shots.

  48. imtiaz

    Romero has been wasteful so far. he is kicking the ball straight through the middle to the Ecuador keeper.

  49. MMH

    Much needed rest for boys. One more goal please. And why don’t they keep passing around between them. Previous game they were passing back and forth but this game they have lead and now they don’t pass. One more goal is much needed. I am still scared of our defence in this game. Pray for 1 more goal boys please.

  50. arg2018

    If qualified, Sampoali needs to find where all players play best. Beneditto? Really?

    1. MMH

      Let us qualify first. It won’t be same team i guarantee you

  51. Nukleuz

    It is like Argentina team playing with oxygen tank running low. Look at the face of Di Maria. Looks like he is about to collapse everytime he sprint. Glad we are leading in half time.

  52. Richard

    Messi and Di Maria are playing excellent. Our right side is very weak. Mercado is terrible and Salvio useless. Mascherano looks shaky. We need more goals just to be safe. Benedetto lacks quality. Bring Dybala with all that space.

    1. Dadir10

      @Richard, agree with you. Dybala must come in at the 60th minute or before.

      1. Majd

        Dybala must come in now

  53. Arjunanmessi

    that’s what messi do….. i am celebrating crazy …..

  54. Gonzalo

    Messi doing it instead of team one more time… The old, well known scenario…

    1. Arjunanmessi

      just stop…. again searching waste cmt here….. go AND sleep messi hatter….. messi doing it instead of team… messi does with team his two moves are team moves ….. not a induvidual goal…. haters.. plz dont cmt…

    2. Dadir10

      If Di Maria had scored the third goal then I would have had peace of mind.

      1. Arjunanmessi

        ya…. i hope two more one from messi one from dybala on sub

    3. Csabalala

      Lol, are you crying in your Maradonas pajamas moron? Please answer to my replys in the previous post, btw Di Maria Messi, Di Maria Messi. Benedetto is a big clown, Acuna and Salvio are MEH too.

      1. Gonzalo

        Csabalala,

        you are here just for your personal war. So distastefull dividing team for your beloved Messi and Di Maria and the hated: Benedetto, Acuna, Salvio. Stop pretend for Argentina fan.

      2. Csabalala

        I dont like mediocre players you see it right

        1. Gonzalo

          No man, everyone see you are here for your personal war, achieving pleasure with most base and primitive ways.

    4. MMH

      SHAKE MY HEAD
      REALLY!!!
      First goal was beautiful team goal. 3 of them were involved

  55. SulaV

    any better link plzzzzzzzzzzz??

  56. Majd

    Bendetto offfff noww

  57. Budi Susatyo

    Please God please

    Keep this score until end of game

  58. Prabesh

    Messi was so eagerto celebrate that he knew it was goal as soon as he shot it

  59. godboy_messi

    yayyy fucking haters. messi does it !!!

  60. Istiaque

    DIOS

    That’s the only player we got.

  61. PAimar

    Messi again.
    GOAT

  62. Arnav Bhatara

    Vamooooooosooossss goaaaaalllllllll!

  63. dollon biswas

    Messi 2 goal..great..

  64. Joe

    Messi scores again

  65. Arnav Bhatara

    Any link for the match

  66. godboy_messi

    ecuador playing open game. dybala would have been a perfect one for today. havent seen benedetto even touching the ball

  67. Debasish Duttaroy

    goal messi

  68. godboy_messi

    i got the guts to watch and say what messi has scored.

  69. Majd

    Fuck yaaaaaaaa

  70. Joe

    Goaaaaaalllll

  71. PAimar

    MESSI levels it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. PAimar

    I’m not seeing the score wrongly right?????????

  73. karl

    I turned off my TV after the goal. I can’t watch it.

  74. SulaV

    link plzzzzz

  75. Debasish Duttaroy

    wow

  76. Majd

    Wow just wow we are down

  77. tmisellati

    they will do it this time

  78. Suresh

    We will win this match..

  79. Majd

    2 hours later i hope i can come back to this website and say wow we did it 🙏🏻🙏🏻

  80. dollon biswas

    Only 5 minutes later …Allah please help Argentine National football team .

  81. JSaroya

    Let’s do this, I am counting down minutes for this game, to all my Punjabi bloggers, Bhanchot CHAK DO PHATTE AAJ, this game the most I am nervous about since the Sweden 2002 game, so let’s make it count and make the enemy pay today for the all misses from all other games. When things get tough then the tough gets going. Let’s roll.

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