Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Ecuador and Paraguay take on each other in a highly-anticipated World Cup qualifier at Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa. La Tricolor aim to make amends for back-to-back defeats to the likes of Brazil and Peru, and a win over Paraguay will see them retain their spot in top four. Washington Corozo, Moises Ramirez, and Byron Castillo are the new faces, while Alexander Dominguez, Damian Diaz, and Christian Oboa have been left out of the squad.
As always, experienced attacker Enner Valencia will lead the line for the hosts. Paraguay, on the other hand, aim to put an end to their four-match winless run in the World Cup qualifiers. Since La Albirroja were producing fine displays at the Copa America, we predict that they will grab something from Thursday’s qualifier. The good news for the visitors is that Miguel Almiron joined the Paraguay squad despite the Premier League decision not to release players travel to “red-list” countries.
Highlighted Player (Enner Valencia):
Enner Valencia is a prolific 26-year-old striker who plays for West Ham United in the English Premier League. Nicknamed “Superman”, Valencia started his career with Emelec in 2010. He enjoyed league success with Emelec and was awarded the “Copa Sudamericana Golden Boot” in 2013.
He also played for Pachuca in Mexico winning the Liga MX Golden Boot in 2014. His goal-scoring record and pace caught the attention of West Ham which bought him for an estimated £12 million in July 2014. At international level, Valencia made his debut in 2012 and has represented the country in 24 games so far. He is one of Ecuador’s top ten goal scorers of all time with 14 goals.
He has already represented Ecuador at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 Copa America tournaments. Enner Valencia is Ecuador’s joint top scorer – along with Agustin Delgado – in World Cup tournaments with three goals.
Highlighted Team (Paraguay):
Los Guaranies are the part of CONMEBOL confederation vying for glory at the international scene since 1919 and their debut loss to Argentina 5-1. Paraguay are regular participants at the Copa America winning the tournament on two occasions thus far, most recently in 1979.
They came close to glory in recent editions of the tournament as they fell short in the final of 2011 to Uruguay, while they finished fourth in 2015. The most successful period of the Paraguay national team came under Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, who took Paraguay to the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the first time in history. Following the 2010 success, Paraguay failed to qualify for their fourth successive FIFA World Cup finals as they have also missed out on the third consecutive global championship held inside their own continent.
Toluca FC centre back Paulo da Silva is the most capped player of the Paraguay national team, while former Bayern Munich and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz is the team’s top scorer with 32 goals to his name.