Copa America 2024: Key battles to look out for during Argentina vs Ecuador quarterfinal – Viral News

Argentina faces Ecuador in the Copa America 2024 quarterfinals on Thursday at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

If their June 9 international friendly is anything to go by, one can expect a lot of individual battles going on in different parts of the pitch when the two sides meet in a bid to make the semifinals.

Willian Pacho-Lautaro Martinez

The six foot tall centre-back who loves a clean tackle against the forward who is red hot form at the moment. Willian Pacho, who according to FBREF, made three tackles during Ecuador’s 0-0 draw against Mexico, will attempt to put a stop to Lautaro Martinez’s scoring spree.

Known to be a ball-carrying defender, evidenced by the 78 times he has done so during the Copa America 2024 group stage, Pacho would be looking forward to intercepting the ball from the speedy Martinez and thread the needle with a pass to his team’s forwards.

While the Argentine forward didn’t take on defenders much in the first two group stage games in the tournament, he attempted to do so against Peru and was successful half the time. It’ll be interesting to see him take on Pacho, and try to go past him to let fly one of his many shots that have often found the net so far.

Moises Caicedo-Alexis Mac Allister

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo loves a good tackle, clean or not. This was apparent in Ecuador’s last meeting against Argentina, in a friendly, when the midfielder fouled Lautaro Martinez from behind, getting all man and no ball.

Alexis Mac Allister, on the other hand, is more of a creative midfielder, though he has shown his intercepting skills in the past.

One can argue that this quarterfinal matchup will be decided in the midfield, with players like Caicedo and Mac Allister trying to control the tempo of the game from the middle of the pitch.

Expect some boots flying in for crunching tackles and perhaps, an assist or two from these players.

Lisandro Martinez-Enner Valencia

While Enner Valencia is yet to hit his form in the ongoing Copa America, defender Lisandro Martinez will surely be wary of Ecuador’s highest ever goal scorer.

Martinez will have to ensure not to give Valencia even an inch of space as the forward has a knack of creating something out of nothing. Valencia is known to be prolific in and around the opposition box.

However, the Argentine defender isn’t one to shy away from keeping close to his man. He is especially good inside the box, bailing out his team in one-on-one situations, which in this match, could very well involve Valencia.

Felix Torres-Lionel Messi

While his starting the quarterfinal match is still in doubt, even a short Lionel Messi cameo on the pitch has the possibility of turning the game around. This is supported by the fact that he has the highest shot-creating actions per 90 minutes (8).

Up against Messi will be Ecuador defender Felix Torres. With five tackles in the 0-0 draw against Mexico, Torres showed that despite being a 22-year-old in front of seasoned campaigners, he can rise to the occasion if and when needed.

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