England’s build up to the World Cup continues when they face Ecuador at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Wednesday (20:00 BST, live on ITV1).
Roy Hodgson’s side bade farewell to their countrymen with a 3-0 victory over Peru at Wembley on Friday. They will face Ecuador and then Honduras before departing for Brazil ahead of their World Cup opener against Italy in Manaus on June 14.
England did not play particularly well in the win over Peru but prospered thanks to a superb strike from Daniel Sturridge and two goals from set-pieces – scored by central defenders Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka. The midfield balance did not look quite right, while England’s final third play lacked fluidity despite some sporadically promising positional interchange.
Hodgson has confirmed that on Wednesday he intends to give opportunities to players who did not start against Peru, including the likes of Jack Wilshere, Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley. Frank Lampard (pictured) will captain the side. Hodgson hopes that the heat and humidity of Florida will stand his side in good stead for the conditions in northern Brazil.
With less than two weeks to go until their World Cup opener, England’s starting lineup is still not fully defined. The goalkeeper and back four are pretty much set, Steven Gerrard looks to be a guaranteed starter in central midfield, while Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will be the forwards, but the remaining three positions are very much up for grabs.
Hodgson looks to have no injury problems ahead of Wednesday’s match, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), Phil Jones (shoulder) and Shaw (cold) all having recovered sufficiently to be involved from the start.
Ecuador qualified for the World Cup by finishing fourth in the South American qualifying group, with 25 points from seven wins, four draws and five defeats. They picked up 22 of those points at home at the altitude of Quito and were less impressive on their travels.
Reinaldo Rueda’s side have already played two pre-World Cup friendlies. They performed to a good standard in a 1-1 draw away to Netherlands before falling to a 3-1 defeat to Mexico in Arlington, Texas on Saturday. They were well-organised in both matches but suffered from individual errors in defence and a lack of precision in the final third.
Pace and power are Ecuador’s main attacking attributes. Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia bombs up and down the right flank, the tricky Jefferson Montero does the same on the left, while Felipe Caicedo acts as a strong central reference point next to a rapid second striker or attacking midfielder.
With the excellent Dinamo Moscow midfielder Christian Noboa providing an accurate supply-line, Ecuador have little trouble transitioning swiftly from defence to attack. Their problems come at the other end of the pitch, where a lack of quality and regular errors of judgement leave them prone to conceding, particularly against teams with varied final third movement.
Segundo Castillo picked up a knee injury in the defeat to Mexico, is doubtful for the World Cup and will certainly not be involved in this match. Frickson Erazo picked up a muscle strain and may also be unavailable. Alexander Dominguez and Noboa should, however, be fit enough to take part.
England vs Ecuador Betting Tips Verdict
These sides have only met on two previous occasions. England triumphed 2-0 in Quito when they met for the first time in a friendly in 1970 and were again the victors when the sides squared off in the second round of the 2006 World Cup, winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from David Beckham.
England will make wholesale changes to their starting 11 for this match and it would be understandable if the players took a little time to get into their stride, particularly in humid mid-afternoon conditions. The likes of Barkley and Sterling are capable of being match-winners and will be keen to display their talents to Hodgson.
Ecuador are likely to field more of their first-choice players, particularly in defence, where Rueda hopes to foster a mutual understanding strong enough to overcome the deficiencies of the constituent parts. They have a number of powerful forwards who are certain to cause the England defence more problems than Peru were able to on Friday.
We expect to see a relatively open match, with a draw the most likely result.