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Mexico vs Ecuador: Copa America 2015, Schedule, Predictions, Rosters, Stream & Preview

First Posted: Jun 18, 2015 11:56 AM EDT
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The group stage of the 2015 Copa America is coming to an end. This South American tournament began with 12 teams, but only eight will advance to the knockout stage. Thursday afternoon we have a must-watch game between Mexico and Ecuador, who are each trying to get in the win column.

Let's break down the game and pick a winner.

Mexico (23)

Mexico hasn't won a game yet in this Copa America, but it hasn't lost either. They tied against Bolivia in their opening game, and drew a very surprising tie against Chile, 3-3, in their last game. Mexico has two points thus far, which is good enough for third place in Group A behind Chile and Bolivia.

Vicente Matías Vuoso scored two goals against Chile, and Raúl Jiménez added one himself. A competitive match against the top seed in the group is just what coach Miguel Herrera wanted to see from his players. Mexico doesn't have their top players out there playing like Javier Hernandez or Francisco Javier Rodríguez, because they are preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. Mexico is favored to win that tournament once again.

Without Hernandez leading the offense, Mexico will once again depend on Jiménez, who presently plays for Atletico Madrid. Goalkeeper José de Jesús Corona will get the start in net instead of Guillermo Ochoa. Rafael Márquez directs a very young defensive unit against Ecuador.

Mexico is in third place in the Group A standings with Chile on top. Chile will face second-place Bolivia in their next game, meaning Mexican soccer fans have to pull for Chile to win. If Chile defeats Bolivia, and Mexico beats Ecuador, Mexico will finish in second place and thus advance to the knockout stage.

Ecuador (31)

Well, this is it for Ecuador. Ecuador is ranked No. 31 in the world, and they're hanging on by a thread. Ecuador lost to Chile in their opening game, and then fell to Bolivia 3-2. Ecuador has just two goals for and five goals against.

Enner Valencia and Miller Bolanos scored for Ecuador in the last game. Team captain Walter Ayoví leads a very underrated defense, and Alexander Domínguez will be the starting goalkeeper against Mexico. The last time Ecuador made it out of group play and into the knockout round of the Copa America was 1997, when Bolivia was the host nation.

This is a very tough situation for Gustavo Quinteros and Ecuador because they don't control their own destiny. Ecuador has zero points, two behind Mexico. They must defeat Mexico and grab all three points if they want any chance whatsoever of advancing. If Ecuador beats Mexico, they will clinch the No. 3 seed. Eight teams will qualify for the knockout stage inducing two third place teams. Multiple teams are in the running for that, including James Rodriguez-led Columbia, Neymar-led Brazil and Uruguay.

Schedule, Where to Watch

Mexico and Ecuador will play each other on Friday, June 19 at 5 p.m. EST. That's 6 p.m. Chile time. The game will be played at the Estadio El Teniente stadium in Rancagua, Chile, and will be shown on the beIN Sports Network. You can watch a live game stream here.

Prediction

Mexico isn't at full strength, but they should be able to defeat Ecuador. Neither one of these teams have a win yet, and you can bet this game will be physical. Both squads want this one bad. Mexico's middle field will make the difference in a close game controlling the ball and time of possession.

Mexico wins 3-2

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