CONMEBOL Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup returns this week, with Brazil taking on Ecuador. Brazil boss ‘Tite’ will be looking to strengthen his teams position at the top of the standings, with the South American giants having lost just one of their opening 14 matches. As for Ecuador, Gustavo Quinteros and his players are desperate for a victory, with the team currently two points behind Argentina in sixth position.
World Cup 2018 Qualifying – Arena do Grêmio, Porto Alegre – Friday 31st August – 01:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 1/4 at Sky Bet
Best Odd of: 9/2 at Betfred
Best Odd of: 11 at Coral
Match Preview: Brazil vs Ecuador
Brazil have stormed through qualifying so far, with Tite’s men currently finding themselves a massive nine points clear of Colombia in second place, meaning that they have already guaranteed their place at the World Cup in Russia next year. Meanwhile, their opponents are looking to put the pressure on the likes of Argentina and Chile, with what would be a hugely surprising win.
Brazil Team News & Form
Brazil have both the best attacking and defensive records in the whole qualifying campaign, having scored 35 goals to date, whilst conceding just ten from their 14 matches. With an abundance of riches to call upon, Tite will perhaps look to give some of his fringe players a run out on Friday morning, meaning that the likes of Renato Augusto and Fernandinho could earn starts.
However, with players such as Neymar Jr, Roberto Firmino, Dani Alves and Casemiro available for selection, Brazil may look to put on a show for their home supporters. With Philippe Coutinho still fighting to secure a move to Barcelona from Liverpool, the attacking midfielder may well miss out due to his lack of playing time at the start of this season.
Ecuador Team News & Form
Ecuador have won six and lost six of their matches to date, along with registering two draws. Sitting two points behind Argentina, who currently hold the play-off position, and three points behind fourth placed Chile, Ecuador know that they must start collecting points if they are to have any hope of reaching the finals. A home defeat to Colombia last time around was severely damaging, with coach Quinteros under pressure to deliver in their coming matches. With an encounter with Peru still to come, even a point against Brazil would be viewed as a positive result. The likes of Antonio Valencia, Felipe Caicedo and Enner Valencia are among their star players, with the trio almost certain to start against Brazil on Friday morning.
Head to Head
Ecuador have won just twice against Brazil in their history, losing out on 25 occasions over the years. With just four draws from such a number of games, a win for either side is certainly expected. You have to go all the way back to 2004 for the last Ecuador victory, with Brazil having defeated their opponents back in September by a scoreline of 3-0.
Betting Odds and Predictions
While many customers will look to simply back Brazil to win come the end of 90 minutes, with Ladbrokes offering best odds of 2/7 on this market, such a bet is unlikely to bring in major winnings. As a result, backing them to win both the first and second half is far more appealing, with odds of 5/6 found at the same bookmakers.
Meanwhile, given Brazil’s dominance in the group so far, backing them to keep a clean sheet against Ecuador is also worth a punt, with William Hill offering odds of 4/7 for them to do so.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for this match is to bet on over 2.5 goals being scored, which can be found at best odds of 3/4 at Ladbrokes