All is on the line in Group A. Senegal must win to realistically make the last 16, whilst Ecuador will probably have to avoid defeat in order to make it through to the knockout stage. Ecuador have been one of the surprise packages in this tournament and played very well vs the Netherlands last time out, drawing 1-1. Senegal beat Qatar 3-1 to stay in qualification contention but will not be fancied as much to progress.
Using Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign and Ecuador’s qualifying route, combined with their first two runouts in the World Cup I’ve covered xG, goals, shots, corners and cards. Crack down on the data alongside my Stats Pack Guide, so you can delve deep into the bookie markets for a winning bet builder.
Ecuador will be forced into at least one change with midfielder Jhegson Méndez suspended after picking up two yellow cards. José Cifuentes is the favourite to replace him.
Ecuador have lined up with two completely different formations in this World Cup, a 4-4-2 vs Qatar and a 5-3-2 /5-4-1 variation vs the Netherlands. They are unpredictable and it will be interesting to see which approach they take.
The team performed so well vs the Netherlands that the presumption is that they’ll look to change as little as possible.
Senegal beat Qatar 3-1 in their last match and could remain unchanged here. They played in both 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 systems in that match.
The only real question mark is attacking wise where Boulaye Dia’s place in the team could be under threat following Bamba Dieng’s excellent appearance off the bench in the previous game.
Ecuador’s xG of 1.42 per 90 mins correlates very strongly with their goals scored of 1.50 per game. It is very similar at the other end where they have been performing relatively as expected, only conceding an average of one goal per match. Crucial to their success at the defensive end of the field has been allowing just 2.80 SOT per 90 mins.
Ecuador are generally a low corners team, averaging just 4.85 and conceding only 3.30 per game. This is due to their style of passing inside and also regularly forcing the opposition narrower. They average 2.30 cards per game which is on the higher side and drawn 2.65 against, which is typical of a South American nation.
Senegal average 13.33 shots per 90 mins during but only converted those into 1.33 goals per game. Their xG of 1.66 per 90 mins is much higher, so they’ve underachieved in front of goal.
At the other end of the field Senegal are defensively very assured, only conceding an average of 0.56 goals per match and this correlates with a low xGA per 90 mins of just 0.98. Impressively, they only conceded exactly 2 SOT against per match and their overall statistics point towards a defence which is mostly reliable, although yet to keep a clean sheet in this World Cup.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Ecuador are not a team that tends to shoot a lot and this shows with their individual statistics. No player averages more than 2.61 shots per 90 mins and that is striker Michael Estrada. He only converts that into 0.90 SOT though. Not a single Ecuador player of significance averages more than 0.90 SOT per 90 mins which is a really low rate. They are not overly wasteful, but the sheer fact that Ecuador doesn’t shoot that often is a factor.
Enner Valencia has attracted a lot of attention at this World Cup but even he only averages 2.21 shots per 90 mins with an accuracy on target of 0.87.
Watford’s Ismaila Sarr could be one to try multiple shots. He is quite a selfish individual player who will try his luck and averages 3.03 shots per 90 mins.
The enigma of Bamba Dieng, who came off the bench vs Qatar to score is another to keep an eye on. He absolutely loves shooting and has a huge average of 5.00 shots per 90 mins, at a decent 1.79 SOT rate as well.
Boulaye Dia also got on the scoresheet vs Qatar, often operates as more of a target man with a low average shot rate of just 0.94. Both Krepin Diatta and Famara Diedhiou average over 2.00 shots per game and Diedhiou hits the target on more than 50% of the time at 1.40 per 90 mins.
Player Goals and Assists
Originally 250/1 for Golden Boot, Enner Valencia has scored three goals at this World Cup and leads the Ecuador scoring charts on this list.
Michael Estrada has six goals from 19 appearances and the leading assist provider is Moisés Caicedo with 4 in 17 starts. This is not a team known for its goalscoring or playmaking prowess though and outside of the main two hitmen then not too many other options appeal.
Sadio Mane being ruled out of the World Cup was a bitter blow for Senegal. They fired blanks vs the Netherlands in the first group game, but all of their strikers did at least manage to get one goal each vs Qatar.
Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou should both start again, whilst Bamba Dieng is an interesting prospect off the bench. Left back Ismail Jakobs provided one assist vs Qatar and fired in five crosses. He could be a source of creativity for this Senegal outfit. The wingers Sarr and Diatta can sometimes be too selfish and individual.
Moisés Caicedo has the most cards on this list with 6 from 17 starts. He also averages 2.18 fouls per 90 mins. Enner Valencia is certainly no saint upfront with 5 cards and a fairly high foul average of 1.76 per 90 mins.
Midfielder Gonzalo Plata has five cards and averages nearly one foul per match. Left back Pervis Estupinan could be in a crucial matchup for this match against the Senegal wingers and on average fouls 1.54 times per 90 mins. He has only obtained two cards in 19 appearances though.
Ismaila Sarr is the most fouled player for Senegal, at an average of 3.64 per 90 mins. This makes sense because he is a high flair player with a lot of skill who tends to take on defenders in several duels.
Left back Ismail Jakobs is no stranger to eluding the opposition and on averages 3.45 fouls in his two appearances at this World Cup. In midfield Pape Gueye is fouled an unusually high 3.45 times per 90 mins but is unlikely to start or even come off the bench.
Matchups to watch
Moisés Caicedo vs Idrissa Gueye
Enner Valencia vs Ismail Jakobs
Pervis Estupinan vs Ismaila Sarr
Cheick Kouyate picked up two yellow cards in qualifying and averages 1.64 fouls per match. He was also carded twice in their African Nations Cup campaign. He is a major candidate for both fouls and a booking.
Everton defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye is often busy in midfield averaging 1.69 fouls per 90 mins.
Nampalys Mendy picked up a card vs the Netherlands so is on thin ice here, but in a match they almost certainly need to win then it’s difficult to imagine him being anything less than committed. He has three cards from 7 starts and fouls on average 1.30 per game.
Gonzalo Plata has been fouled the most times for Ecuador, on average 2.94 per 90 mins and he will have some interesting midfield matchups.
Elsewhere, Enner Valencia is fouled 2.15 times per game and will be a handful for the Senegal defenders.
Moisés Caicedo has picked up the most Ecuador cards but is also fouled quite a lot at 2.06 times per 90 mins.
Pervis Estupinan will regularly be employed in a wing back role and is the sort of player who gets involved. It is no surprise to see him being fouled on average 1.54 times per 90 mins.
Matchups to watch
Idrissa Gueye vs Moisés Caicedo
Nampalys Mendy vs Gonzalo Plata
Enner Valencia vs Kalidou Koulibaly