Peru will look to maintain their position atop Group B with a positive result against Ecuador, who currently sit tied for second in the group after playing Brazil to a scoreless draw in their tournament opener.
Will Peru earn a shock quarters berth?
While they usually struggle in World Cup qualifying – they haven’t made it to a World Cup since 1982 – Peru have shown well in the last two Copa America tournaments, finishing third in both 2011 and 2015. They have a golden opportunity to advance to the knockout rounds this time around after beating Haiti on Sunday, and will qualify for the quarterfinals with a win on Thursday. We’ll see if Los Incas can seize the opportunity against their border rival Ecuador.
How will Ecuador bounce back?
Sunday’s scoreless draw with Brazil was, on its surface, a good result for Ecuador.
Factor in their controversially disallowed goal in the 66th minute of the match, however, and that 0-0 tie starts to sting a little.
If the goal counted and Ecuador had gone on to claim a 1-0 win, they’d be tied with Peru atop the group. Thursday’s match would’ve been a battle for group supremacy. Instead, Ecuador will be fighting for their life. With Brazil a huge favorite to both beat Haiti on Thursday and get at least a result from their finale against Peru, a loss on Thursday would all but eliminate Ecuador. They need to stand tall against their rivals on Thursday.
Can Guerrero stay hot?
The leading scorer at the last two Copa America tournaments, Peru’s Paolo Guerrero was at it again in his country’s opener against Haiti, scoring the lone goal in Peru’s 1-0 win against Les Grenadiers on Sunday. The 31-year-old striker nearly notched an assist too, finding Edison Flores for a shot that slammed off the post in the 45th minute. He’ll likely be at the center of the action again against Ecuador – whether or not he can capitalize on his chances will go a long way towards determining if Peru stay atop the group.