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Copa America | Group Stage
Jun 22, 2024 at 11pm UK
Levi's Stadium

1 - 2

Sarmiento (40')
Sarmiento (29'), Paez (45+1')
Valencia (22')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Cadiz (64'), Bello (74')
Machis (31'), Casseres Jr (45+2')

Preview: Ecuador vs. Venezuela - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Ecuador vs. Venezuela - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Copa America clash between Ecuador and Venezuela, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Both Ecuador and Venezuela will be bidding to get their respective 2024 Copa America campaigns off to positive starts when they lock horns at the competition on Saturday.

Mexico and Jamaica are also present in an open Group B, and Ecuador will be bidding to progress past the group stage of the Copa America for their second tournament in a row.

Match preview

Ecuador have never won the Copa America, but they have finished fourth on two previous occasions - in 1959 and 1993 - while the national side have made the quarter-finals in two of the last three tournaments.

In 2021, La Tri saw their journey ended by the winners Argentina, and Felix Sanchez's side will be expecting to advance through Group B, which as mentioned, also includes Mexico and Jamaica.

Ecuador will enter this match off the back of successive wins, beating Bolivia and Honduras in their friendlies earlier this month, while they only suffered a 1-0 defeat to Argentina in their warm-up fixtures.

Sanchez's side have made a positive start to their 2026 World Cup qualification section, collecting eight points from six matches, which has left them in fifth spot, one point and one position above Brazil.

Ecuador will tackle Venezuela on Saturday before facing Jamaica and Mexico respectively, and outside the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia, they could be a team to watch this summer.

Venezuela, meanwhile, have not actually been in action since a goalless draw with Guatemala at the end of March, while they have been beaten by Colombia and Italy in two of their last three matches.

Fernando Batista's side were last victorious against Chile in October 2023, and they have also made a solid start to their 2026 World Cup qualification campaign, sitting fourth, one point and one spot above Ecuador.

La Vinotinto have never won the Copa America, with their best-ever performance in the competition coming back in 2011, when they finished in fourth position.

Since then, Venezuela have made the quarter-finals on two occasions and been eliminated in the group stage twice, including in the 2021 competition, when they failed to win a match in the finals.

There has not been much to choose between these two sides in their recent meetings, with both winning one of their last six matches, and the other four games ending in draws.

The two teams last locked horns in a 2026 World Cup qualifier in November 2023, with the score finishing level, but Ecuador did beat Venezuela 1-0 at the end of 2021.

Ecuador form (all competitions):

Venezuela form (all competitions):

Team News

There are plenty of familiar names in the Ecuador squad, with Bayer Leverkusen's Piero Hincapie and Eintracht Frankfurt's Willian Pacho set to be among the starters in this contest.

Chelsea's Moises Caicedo is in line to win his 43rd cap in this contest, while 17-year-old Kendry Paez, who will head to Chelsea next year, is also likely to be included in the starting XI.

Enner Valencia remains a key figure for Ecuador, scoring 41 times in 86 appearances for the national side, and the 34-year-old will captain the team from centre-forward on Saturday.

As for Venezuela, there will also be a familiar name leading their line, with Salomon Rondon, who currently plays his club football for Pachuca, bidding to add to the 41 goals that he has managed for his national side.

Yeferson Soteldo and Jefferson Savarino are likely to feature alongside Rondon in the final third of the field, while Girona's Yangel Herrera will be another notable inclusion.

Toulouse midfielder Cristian Casseres is also set to be named in the Venezuela XI for this contest, while Philadelphia Union's Jose Martinez could also be handed a midfield position despite the competition for spots in that area of the field.

Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Dominguez; Preciado, Torres, Pacho, Hincapie; Ortiz, Caicedo; Yeboah, Paez, Sarmiento; Valencia

Venezuela possible starting lineup:
Romo; Navarro, Makoun, Angel, Gonzalez; Casseres, Martinez, Herrera; Savarino, Rondon, Soteldo

We say: Ecuador 2-1 Venezuela

There is not an awful lot to choose between these two sides, and we are expecting a close match on Saturday. It would not be a surprise to see a draw, but we are just backing Ecuador to have enough to navigate their way to a vital victory in their opening match of what is shaping up to be a fascinating competition.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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