Qualification for the World Cup in South America begins on Thursday with Lionel Messi and Argentina facing Ecuador in Buenos Aires. It is the first game of an 18-match schedule to determine the teams that qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. These two teams met in the final qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup, with Messi scoring a hat-trick to lead his country to Russia.


Here's how you can watch the game and what you need to know:





See information

Date: Thursday, October 8 | Time: 20:30 h. ET

Location: La Bombonera - Buenos Aires, Argentina

TV: None | Live broadcast: Fanatiz USA (pay-per-view)

Odds: Argentina -450; Draw +450; Ecuador +1100 (via William Hill Sportsbook)


stories

Argentina: Expectations are high for this Argentine team that looks totally different from the previous cycle. Many of the former players have been moved or undrafted, and there is a bit of youth movement in the team with 16 players 26 and under. Expect the team to be lively, quick to move forward and present a really young team, outside of guys like Messi and Nicolas Otamendi. 

Ecuador: The national team has a new coach in Argentine Gustavo Alfaro - before Boca Juniors, Rosario Central, San Lorenzo, and other clubs. He is one of the most recognized coaches in the country in South America and has shown himself capable of doing more with less, as when he was the coach of Arsenal de Sarandí. Against his country of birth, the place where he has trained since 1992, he embarks on a great path where, on defense, his team will aim to be physical, fast with the ball, and a double Messi team.


Prediction

Messi shines, Lautaro Martínez scores a goal and the hosts get all three points. Pick: Argentina 3, Ecuador 1

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