Three specific things to watch for in Argentina vs. Ecuador


This is what it all comes down to. Later tonight, the Argentina national team will play its most important match since the 2014 World Cup Final. The Copa America final matches were important, but tonight’s crucial duel will decide whether La Albiceleste even gets to participate in next summer’s World Cup. All the pressure is on for Jorge SAMPAOLI’s men in Quito against Ecuador.

Jorge SAMPAOLI’s Substitutions

Argentina manager Jorge SAMPAOLI has drawn some criticism of late because of his player selections and tactical formations. The team hasn’t been able to win a competitive match under SAMPAOLI, with three-consecutive draws putting Argentina’s World Cup hopes in jeopardy. With all that said, Argentina hasn’t played poorly in any of the three matches; they’ve conceded just one goal and were hard-lucked to not score at least one themselves in the draw against Peru on Thursday.

But it’s been SAMPAOLI’s substitutions that have left a lot to be desired, primarily in the match against Peru. The manager had reportedly been flirting with the idea of starting Leandro PAREDES in midfield instead of Lucas BIGLIA, but elected to go with the latter, a more defensive player. BIGLIA played well, but his midfield partner, Ever BANEGA, did not and was substituted. It was the perfect match for PAREDES to come in and spray passes around the pitch, but instead SAMPAOLI brought in Fernando GAGO, an oft-injured 31-year-old who could only play five minutes before being needed to be substituted with injury (the third and final sub).

Argentina went home with one point and with Mauro ICARDI and Paulo DYBALA not getting one second of playing time. That can’t happen again, no matter the supposed injury to ICARDI and the lack of chemistry between DYBALA and Leo MESSI. Both ICARDI and DYBALA need to at least get a chance to change the game tonight, though it’ll have to be off the bench.

Argentina Midfield Creating Scoring Chances

I probably sound like a broken record by this point, but Argentina’s midfield has to create something in order for the team to score goals and win. MESSI can only do so much from his No. 10 position. He does more than enough in terms of materializing scoring chances out of nothing, but he needs help. BANEGA has been of no help in this qualifying cycle, and he’s been dropped for tonight’s game because of it. BIGLIA is not a creator and neither is Enzo PEREZ, who is expected to slot in for BANEGA. Who does that leave? Javier MASCHERANO, who will play as a free-ranging center back that has the freedom to venture forward and pick out players with long passes, just like he did extremely well against Peru.

In addition to MASCHERANO, Angel DI MARIA and the other midfielders/wingers must create from the flanks. Marcos ACUÑA will have his hands full covering behind DI MARIA, but he’s more than capable of swinging in dangerous crosses. Eduardo SALVIO looks likely to get the start on the right wing, where he’s adept at beating defenders with his quickness and slotting in key passes with his right foot. MESSI can give other players chances to score goals often, but he needs the others to reciprocate in this crucial match.

Argentina’s Players in the Altitude

It’s been talked about enough, but it’s absolutely something worth mentioning. For as long as anyone can remember, La Albiceleste has struggled to perform against teams that play in high altitudes, primarily Bolivia and Ecuador (tonight’s opponent). Argentina hasn’t won in La Paz against Bolivia since 2005 and in Quito against Ecuador since 2001. Now, these are unforeseen circumstances that haven’t been demanded in the past, but Argentina’s players will struggle to breathe and keep up an uptempo pace for the duration of the match. It’ll be massive for the team if they can get an early goal so that they can settle into a possession-based match.


  1. Argentina played better against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru… but Messi made two goals outta Ecuador mistakes and then the first was genius through the legs of the keeper! On another day we lose 1-0 in this game and win 4-0 against Venezuela and Peru … so we aren’t as bad as the ties against Uruguay , Peru and Venezuela and aren’t as good as the victory today. We need to build… we get players like pastore, aguero and rojo back soon … acuna and salvio are not starters … Benedetto played solid but icardi or higuain is more ideal. Would love to aguero on the left of Messi and dybala on right but the midfield needs Pastore in it as well

    • I don’t think argentina can play dybala, aguero, messi together. There is a reason we can’t play possesion football like barca, real. We are not a balanced team like them. First of all as a team we lack defensive speed meaning if the the defenders push up to join attack they cannot get back quickly to defend. To give extra cover to defense we play 2 holding MFs. This is why our lines are so far apart.

      Today we scored goals (& messi played superb) but you also have to acknowledge ecuador played very open unlike peru, venezuela. Messi was afforded space today.

      But I don’t think in WC our opponents will play like that. Over last few years we really struggle against park the bus teams (remember 2014 WC iran match etc). Balanced teams generally deal with this in couple of ways. Typically they have a good CM who can dristibute to the offensive line quickly and extremely fast fullback / wingers who can strech the opponent backline. But I think everybody admits we are far from achieving that balance in the NT. It would be interesting to see how sampaoli solve this conundrum but I am sure that it would involve di maria is some form. He is the 2nd most important attacking player for us after messi

  2. What a game…… thank you lionel thank you for the show….. a world class hattrick from the best player in the world…. once again thank you lionel… Guys we are in the world cup finals… Next mission is to win the bloody World Cup and end the legacy…. congrats guyssss…

  3. Congratulation to every here on Mundo. I’m not gonna say much let’s judt enjoy the moment without negativity. This was the most difficult part. The team ain’t perfect but from now Sampaoli can experiment with personnel. All I know is that We need a faster team. Messi needs runners around him to produce magic.

  4. Outlaw have always been a disguise TROLL masquerading here as an Argentina super scout.. This was a total team performance at altitude. Even Benedetto played well with his off the ball running and hold up play. Messi, Di Maria, Mascherano, Otamendi, Enzo, Acuna, Mercardo, and Biglia also had a great game. The only player didn’t play well was Salvio.

      • The guy act like a spoiled kid at the super market who didn’t get what he wanted then start crying and rolling around on the store floor to make a point to his

    • Yup, I always going to watch Argentina league for hours just to disguise better to be troll. That briliant thought may come only from KidulHood’s mind.


      Now I see finally you are really coward. Only coward is attacking when in crowd. You just wait to kick in crowd like typical cowards. You are the one who were running away from here for months everytime when Argentina failed in crucial moments, and your predictions failed. Flee not to be kicked by angry crowd. Now you feel strong in crowd, only when 99% people is disagree with me. Always act like coward ‘par excellence’.

      Now see and learn what is to be straight, I don’t need to flee as you.

  5. Nobody gets a medal for winning CONMEBOL qualifier, what matters is the world cup. Now Argentina can focus on the world cup because the media favorites will be Germany, Brazil, Spain and France. After what these players been through over the last year or so, now I don’t expect them to melt during a semifinal or final world cup game come next year.

    • I think we all believe so but i dont think it is the right moment to say that. Just imagine the scenario of Argentina missing WC and compare with this result, it is pretty fuc*** awesome. It is time to celebrate. Hope lady luck will shine next time on.

  6. Vamos Argentina.!
    Didn’t expected this from our guys.!
    But you delivered.
    With Argentina always 😍
    Now Sampoli has Time.
    Let him make a Team, to stun the world in Russia.

  7. I used to Respect Gonzalo but seeing his this behaviour and comments after making history i feel yaaak.
    Come on g. Don’t be like that. Celebrate. Don’t come with stupid excuses. Don’t make more fool yourself

    • What did he do? I think Real sold him beacause he though he was better than Cristano Ronaldo let alone Benzema. Same thing happening in Juventus, he thinks he is better than Dybala, just look at his celebration, they are full of self ego just like CR while CR is better than him(how ever way below than Messi).

    • MMH

      My “Great but…” is my deepest feelings. Feel of happy with grain of salt. I have a ‘deja vu’. Completely convinced we have not a team and this way we may beat only team like Ecuador.

      • Are you really A FAN of Argentina. You need to celebrate. We have a ton of time brother. Don’t worry. Forget those. Now just enjoy. Sorry if I hurt you 🙂
        Forgive me

  8. Sampaoli has 9 months to build this team….we need better fullbacks… i had have said a lot of bad stuff against Rojo but under mourino he had one heck of a season… we need a playmaker!!! Banega is not a play maker that will get us the wc!!! Good luck Sampaoli!! Vamos Argentina!!

  9. Time to celebrate. All Argentina fans, today is our day and the GOAT just showed his class. For Messi haters please do have a drink and go to bed. This is the first of many drinks you need to have. Am sure I see posts from some who instead of celebrating the qualification, is talking crap about how we are not a team and so on. Till Messi is there Argentina has a chance to win the cup. Sorry to say my last hope is this WC and next. Talent in Argentina is at all time low. Let us have a bash and hope Sampaoli makes a good team of the available talent.

    Another point to cheer is Chile is out of world cup. Thank god the 3 points they were given in their loss to Bolivia did not count.

    Vamos Argentina

  10. Such a long relief and now sampaoli should build a team in next four matches especially in midfield and gk watch out world sampaoli is coming to Russia

  11. As I told you last day, will this Argentina does the same thing like Brazil in 2002? Runner up in 1998, struggle till the last game to qualify for 2002 WC and grab the title. We can do exact same thing and I believe. Come on guys!!

  12. Peru 26 Points – Chile 26 Points

    Peru 27 goals scored & 26 goals conceded

    Chile 26 goals scored & 27 goals conceded

    Peru made the playoffs by a +1 goal difference over Chile!

  13. So happy that my hero scored a hattrick and beloved team qualified as well, Team needs little changes which sampaoli knows this is just the start and he will build a better team around messi..Happy that icardi came in and almost scored a goal,that was good team move and really liked it.
    Team will sure play great in world cup and win the cup.

  14. We’re in Russia!!! What a game from Messi! He saved us, when we needed him the most! Don’t forget this! I know I wont. See you guys in the World Cup. Vamos Argentina!

  15. A player like Messi deserves a World Cup…the whole team management needs to focus on building the right team for 2018..I trust Sampaoli..Argentina will fight for the crown next year


    Me hace muy feliz el ver el partido! I’m so so so happy! VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS!

    I feel really bad for my friends from Chile though. They didn’t deserve to be out.

  17. This win for the REAL FAN who still believed in our players. I am honoured to be with you guys here. All the fake fans please make your excuses and come up with new problem.
    Vamos Argentina

    • Hey guys I commented yesterday Allah willing Argentina will win and Messi will score brace but today he scored hatrick. Congrats to all mundo fans. Today he proved what he is again. Thanks Allah

    • Omg live out g. What is wrong with you. We just made history. Plus you think this win only Messi achieved. FUCK NO. Biglia,Otamendi,Angel,Salvio,Perez,Acuna and others were running like dog. Open your eyes

      • Agree. Notice how Otamendi f-ed Mercado when the latter was screwing around and lost the ball to a Ecuadorian counter. I’m glad to say Benedetto also did his part. He was the dummy for Messi’s third goal!!! Though I’m not sure if any of the Ecuadorian defenders ran with Benedetto…. Whatever guys! We qualified automatically!!!!!!

        • Otamendi and Biglia is a beast. YES Biglia. You don’t ask a contract killer to romance with the victim. Biglia is a destroyer so he won’t play nice

    • And almost scored a goal. Unlucky.
      Vamos Albiceleste.

      Congratulations to all cules. Lets celebrate together instead of bashing each other. We all love the team. Amd we all love Messi.
      Lets enjoy this moment. But the real work starts now. We got unfinished business. Keep faith in Sampaoli.

  18. Messi is playing exactly where he plays for Barcelona; Final third, hence Argentina winning just like Barcelona. IF you look at Baracelona games, when ever Messi plays in complete midfield, they suffer just like Argentina. Stupid Enriques tried that in his tenture in Barca, they only succedd for one season as Suarez carry the burden with Messi of scoring. Hence Messi should be played in front with better midfield other than Biligia.

  19. Plastic fans on Mundo who were commenting against Messi and Messi dependance should hang themselves and suicide today so that we dont see them back on Mundo again.

    Stupid bunch of people . Pls don’t come back.

    • You will see them back again because now we see more and more this team Messi-dependent. And I think even some Messi fans are taking the happy day with grain of salt when seeing the way we are qualifing. It’s happy and scarry. And I will repeat it again and again, even in this moment of Messi triumph that this Messi dependency will lead us nowhere. All what was in the game was only Messi and such a mediocree team against weak Ecuador.

  20. I m wondering what the Argentine media would say now. a tip of advice for the bitters: Don’t fix what ain’t broken. Messi has always been the good part of Argentine football. Its the other 9 guys who are not held responsible for their failure.

  21. come on fuckers…. now say….. messssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  22. Yup. Quite clearly. The moment the other team plays an open game and doesn’t lock down hard on Messi, we’ll get chances. ADM playing a more central role beside Messi sort of helps. And seriously, didn’t see much of Benedetto.

  23. Much needed rest for boys. One more goal please. And why don’t they keep passing around between them. Previous game they were passing back and forth but this game they have lead and now they don’t pass. One more goal is much needed. I am still scared of our defence in this game. Pray for 1 more goal boys please.

  24. It is like Argentina team playing with oxygen tank running low. Look at the face of Di Maria. Looks like he is about to collapse everytime he sprint. Glad we are leading in half time.

  25. Messi and Di Maria are playing excellent. Our right side is very weak. Mercado is terrible and Salvio useless. Mascherano looks shaky. We need more goals just to be safe. Benedetto lacks quality. Bring Dybala with all that space.

  26. Let’s do this, I am counting down minutes for this game, to all my Punjabi bloggers, Bhanchot CHAK DO PHATTE AAJ, this game the most I am nervous about since the Sweden 2002 game, so let’s make it count and make the enemy pay today for the all misses from all other games. When things get tough then the tough gets going. Let’s roll.

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