Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
After producing a fine display in a goalless draw with star-studded Brazil, Colombia will be aiming to return to winning ways in the World Cup qualifiers when they host Ecuador to Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez on Thursday evening. Key midfielder Juan Cuadrado returns from suspension, while Atalanta attacker Duvan Zapata is widely expected to replace Radamel Falcao in the starting XI.
Since Colombia are a real force to be reckoned with at home, it is no wonder the bookies see them as favourites to win Thursday’s qualifier. Ecuador, on the other hand, failed to impress in a 2-1 loss to Rondon-less Venezuela, which is probably the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on the hosts. As always, a man to watch in the away team will be Enner Valencia, who has netted three goals in the process to date.
Highlighted Player (James Rodriguez):
James Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder who plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Colombian superstar played for the likes of Envigado and Banfield at the start of his career and he moved to Europe in 2010, joining Portuguese side Porto for a fee of €5.1 million.
James scored 25 goals in 63 league appearances with the Dragons and in 2013 he joined Monaco. His transfer to the Ligue 1 side was the second most expensive in the history of Portuguese Primeira Liga (€45 million) and he signed a five-year contract with les Rouges et Blancs. The Colombian ace impressed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and, as a result, Real Madrid chiefs signed him on 22 July, 2014 for an undisclosed fee.
However, reports in Spain suggested that the fee was approximately €80 million. Rodriguez scored 13 goals in 29 league appearances for Real Madrid in the 2014/2015 Primera Division campaign and he was in Gareth Bale’s shadow in the 2015/2016 season. James is well known for his technical skills, his vision and the ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Highlighted Team (Ecuador):
Ecuador had endured difficult times in footballing terms having been considered to be one of the more struggling football nations in South America, but the Tri have managed to transform themselves into a team that can never be taken lightly at the international scene.
Ecuador has taken part in three of the 22 World Cups with 12 position they achieved in 2006 in Germany being their best result so far. La Tricolor head into Copa America Centenario tied at the top of CONMEBOL’s World Cup qualifying table and their chances of making it through from group B have been increased with good results and alike performances.
Ivan Hurtado played for El Tri since 1992 to 2014 and former centre-back remains the most capped international with 168 games to his name. Ecuador captain Walter Ayovi is the active player with most games in the national team, while Felipe Caicedo with 19 goals is the top scorer of Gustavo Quinteros’ side.