Two sides yet to register a victory in this year’s Copa América (CA) go H2H in the final game of Group C as Ecuador (FIFA rank: #60) face Japan (#28). Both sides can still qualify through the third-placed rankings so there’s still a big incentive to win.
The rankings usually ring true as far as Ecuador is concerned, as they have registered just four victories in all games since the start of 2018 (W4, D3, L5), three of which were against lower-ranked sides than themselves. Moreover, Ecuador is yet to win in five matches against higher-ranked opposition in 2019 (D1, L4).
Ecuador hasn’t seen a goalless first half in any of their four games since the beginning of this month (1.75 total first-half goals average).
As one of the CA’s invitees and the first non-North/Latin American nation to play in the CA, Japan is yet to win a game ahead of their fifth overall match in tournament history (D2, L3).
Hajime Moriyasu (JAP) has enjoyed relative success since taking the helm; averaging 2.17 points per match. Nine of his 12 victories in charge have been ‘to nil’, although over half of the victories were by just a single-goal margin (58.3%).
Players to watch: Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scored his first goal of the campaign from the penalty spot last time out; he scored in two of their three group games in the last campaign.
The lesser-known Koji Miyoshi (JAP) announced himself on the international stage with a goal either side of half-time to earn a surprise draw vs Uruguay last time out.
Stat attack: Both of Ecuador’s CA group games saw over 1.5 first-half goals.
Ecuador has had a man sent-off in both group games so far, whilst Japan has received exactly two bookings in both.
Eight of Japan’s last ten games have seen just one or neither team score (in all competitions).
Will not play
Referee: Valenzuela J. (Ven),
Venue: Mineirão (Belo Horizonte)