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International Friendly: People Want Messi Magic at Soldier Field

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Argentina vs Ecuador

Argentina will be playing two International Friendly matches before their Copa America title defence. First up for them is a game against Ecuador on Sunday night, before they take on Guatemala on Friday.

La Albiceleste will be looking to use this time to re-integrate some of their returnees and new guys, such as Lisandro Martinez, Alejandro Garnacho, Valentin Carboni, Valentin Barco, Leonardo Balerdi, and, of course, the GOAT himself, Lionel Messi.

Ecuador are also preparing for the Copa America, and after this game against the defending champions, they will be up against Bolivia on Wednesday.

Both teams are in fine form ahead of this match, as Argentina are on a three-game winning streak while Ecuador have lost just two of their previous 11 matches.


Talking Points

Messi back on duty for Argentina

Lionel Messi is back after a three-month hiatus from La Albiceleste. The Inter Miami star was absent in their back-to-back international friendly victories over El Salvador and Costa Rica in March, as he was dealing with minor injuries at the time.

His workload management has paid off, as he is in fine form heading into the Copa America. Lionel Messi continues to dominate Major League Soccer, as he is one of the league’s best players with 12 goals and a league-high 13 assists.

As always, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner will be at the forefront for La Albiceleste, but the team doesn’t need to heavily rely on him given their recent influx of talent.

Vice-captain Angel Di Maria is still going strong at 36, while Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, and Alexis Mac Allister are all ready to create new International Friendly 2024 highlights for Argentina.

And then at the back, head coach Lionel Scaloni will continue to stick with the centre-half pairing of Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi, with Nahuel Molina, Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Marcos Acuna will be fighting for the starting full-back spots.


Valencia back in tow, Estupinan out for Ecuador

Ecuador seek to gain momentum in their international friendly matches before Copa America starts
Ecuador manager Felix Sanchez giving instructions during their World Cup qualification match against Chile

Ecuador may be considered one of the dark horses in the upcoming Copa America because they revamped their squad under head coach Felix Sanchez.

With the Spaniard at the helm, their World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign is off to a good start, as they’re fifth in the CONMEBOL standings with eight points (W3, D2, L1).

Long-time skipper Enner Valencia is back to lead La Tricolor’s attack, as he will aim to add to his 40-goal international tally on Sunday.

Valencia will have a robust midfield behind him, led by Moises Caicedo, Jeremy Sarmiento, and teenage sensation Kendry Paez.

Pervis Estupinan (ankle) is the most notable injury absentee for Ecuador, so Felix Sanchez might go for a back-three of Piero Hincapie, Willian Pacho, and Felix Torres.



Argentina and Ecuador last faced off in the ongoing World Cup CONMEBOL qualifiers in September, when La Albiceleste secured a 1-0 victory over La Tricolor as Lionel Messi scored the only goal of the match during the 78th minute.

Before that, Ecuador scored a rare 1-1 draw against Argentina in the same competition on March 2022, as Enner Valencia scored a late equaliser to nullify Julian Alvarez’s first-half goal.

During the 2021 Copa America, Argentina won against Ecuador in the quarter-finals with a score of 3-0, as Lionel Messi had a hand in all three goals, assisting Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez before scoring one for himself in added time.

Argentina, by the way, are the reigning Copa America and World Cup champions. They are the joint-winningest team in the Copa America, with 15 trophies alongside Uruguay.

As for Ecuador, they haven’t won a single Copa America in their history. Their best run in the continental tournament was finishing fourth twice, in 1959 and 1993.


Betting Tip

The International Friendly 2024 odds are partial for an Argentina victory on Sunday. La Albiceleste are at 1.52 odds to win, whereas La Tricolor are 4.97 underdogs, and a draw is valued at 3.54 in the 1X2 market.

Recent meetings between these two sides have been low-scoring, but there’s a chance that it might not be the case on Sunday. So, other than our recommended bet above, SBOTOP bettors may also want to check out Over 2.25 at 1.70, Over 2.50 at 1.96, or Total Goal 2-3 at 1.90 as options. But if you don’t agree, then you may want to consider going for Total Goal 0-1 at 3.19 or Correct Score of 1-0 in favour of Argentina – the result of their last encounter – given its decent offer of 5.80.



⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT))


Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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