Our prediction for this Copa America match:
Ecuador and Japan, the two teams who have little to play for in their last group game at the 2019 Copa America, face each other at Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto on Tuesday morning. The Ecuadorians aim to make amends from back-to-back defeats to the likes of Uruguay and Chile and seeing that Japan are without several first-team regulars at the tournament in Brazil, we are positive that Hernan Gomez’s troops are going to five fans some cheer this time out.
The Samurai Blue did well to hold Uruguay to a draw in their second group match, but they have very slim chances of booking their place in the knockout stages. Anyhow, a lively contest is on the cards in Belo Horizonte and we are positive that fans will see goals galore at Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto. In their only previous meeting on the international stage Japan recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ecuador.
Highlighted Player (Sebastián Méndez):
Born in Mira, Ecuador, on April 26, 1997, Sebastian Mendez plays for Major League Soccer club Orlando City as a midfielder. Mendez began his youth career at Independiente del Valle and he continued playing for the Ecuadorian side at senior level.
After scoring four goals in 81 appearances in the league for Independiente, the Ecuador international moved to Orlando City in 2019, but it has to be noted that he played for Cultural Leonesa on loan in the past as well. Mendez made his MLS debut against New York City on March 2, 2019 and he was replaced by Nani in the 70th minute.
As for his international career, the Orlando City midfielder played his first ever match for the Ecuador national team on September, 12, 2019 against Guatemala. The Ecuadorians won the game 2-0, with Mendez being replaced in 73rd minute of the match. His main position is defensive midfielder, but he is capable of playing as a central midfielder as well.
Highlighted Team (Japan):
Japan national team have been making progress year by year. The Samurai Blue are regarded as one of the best Asian teams and they have established themselves as the regular participants of the FIFA World Cup finals. Japan qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France for the first time in the national team’s history, but they have been taking part at the showpiece tournament ever since.
The Samurai Blue then co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea and they did well to make it to the last 16 of the major tournament. The Japanese national team repeated the success eight years later in South Africa, where they were beaten by Paraguay on penalties in the last 16.
It has to be noted that Japan are the only Asian team that participated in the Copa America, with the team taking part in the 2009 and the 2011 tournament. The Samurai Blue wear blue shirts and blue shorts when playing at home, whereas their away kits are grey-white.