17 de julio de 2019
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Hispanic World

Uruguay’s ambitions vs Ecuador’s doubts in their 2019 Copa America debut

Belo Horizonte, Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Uruguay's national team, one of the favorites to win the 2019 Copa America, is set to kick off its run at the continental tournament on Sunday with a clash against Ecuador, a team that arrives at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium with doubts surrounding its coach’s future and the physical condition of some of its players.

Belo Horizonte, Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Uruguay's national team, one of the favorites to win the 2019 Copa America, is set to kick off its run at the continental tournament on Sunday with a clash against Ecuador, a team that arrives at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium with doubts surrounding its coach’s future and the physical condition of some of its players.

Uruguay seeks its record-extending 16th Copa America title and the first since 2011 led by forward Luis Suarez, who has fully recovered from a right knee injury that required surgery.

The Barcelona star, who has not played a match from start to end in a month, leads a group of mature players such as his fellow forward Edinson Cavani, defender Diego Godín and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Alongside them, Uruguay’s roster includes young players, especially in the midfield comprised of Rodrigo Bentancur, 21, and Nahitan Nandez, 23 - who are expected to start - as well as Federico Valverde, 20, and Lucas Torreira, 23, who are set to be left on the bench.

Jose Maria Gimenez, 24 years old, will be defending.

Fans hold high hopes for this midfield, which is likely to include Matías Vecino and Nicolas Lodeiro, to support their formidable attacking line.

“We have to make the most of the traits of the midfield so that they make the ball reach us as we, the forwards, like,” Suarez said on Friday.

All the pundits agree that the team, led by coach Óscar Washington Tabarez has what it takes to go far in the tournament.

However, it will have to prove itself in Group C, which also includes Ecuador, Japan, and Chile, the two-time defending champion.

Ecuador, on the other hand, arrived in Brazil amid a rebuilding process that left the team with a mix of seasoned players such as forward Enner Valencia and midfielder Antonio Valencia and young players who seek to gain more experience.

Colombian coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who led Ecuador to its first-ever World Cup appearance in 2002, was challenged by some fan groups since he took the helm 10 months ago.

However, he has insisted since their arrival in Brazil that the roster is like “a family”.

On the pitch, midfielder Jefferson Orejuela is a doubtful addition as he just recovered from edema in his left thigh and he is not expected to start the game.

Antonio Valencia, meanwhile, trained alone on Friday, sparking fears about his physical condition.

Possible lineups:

Uruguay: Fernando Muslera; Martín Caceres, José Maria Gimenez, Diego Godin, Diego Laxalt; Nahitan Nandez, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Nicolas Lodeiro; Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Coach: Oscar Washington Tabarez.

Ecuador: Alexander Dominguez; Jose Quintero, Robert Arboleda, Gabriel Achillier, Beder Caicedo; Jefferson Intriago or Sebastian Mendez, Carlos Gruezo; Antonio Valencia, Angel Mena, Ayrton Preciado; and Enner Valencia.

Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez.

Referee: Brazil’s Anderson Daronco, assisted by his countrymen Marcelo Van Gasse and Kleber Lucio Gil.

Venue: Belo Horizonte’s 62,000-seater Mineirao stadium. EFE

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