Football Tips: Caicedo key to today’s 16/1 Qatar v Ecuador World Cup Bet Builder

Our tipster Shane O'Brien previews this THRILLER of a World Cup opener...

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Qatar v Ecuador betting tips

Ecuador to Win
Both Teams to Score – No 
Moises Caicedo to Attempt 50 or More Passes
Over 9.5 Corners 

*A Bet Builder with these bets pays at approximately 16/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

Sunday, November 20: 16:00 – Qatar v Ecuador
TV: BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website 

Ecuador to win

It is hard to gauge where both Qatar and Ecuador are at going into this tournament. The former are undoubtedly one of the weakest hosts in World Cup history, if not the weakest, but they have had 12 years to prepare for this moment and the foundation of the Aspire Academy has helped them to become slightly more competent at playing football. 

They are also the current Asian Cup champions after beating Japan in the final in 2019, while they reached the semi-finals of last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, being the North American stalwarts that they are. However, Qatar played all five teams competing in Group A of the European World Cup qualifiers last year and their results were nothing to write home about. 

They recorded just two wins from 10 games courtesy of narrow wins over Azerbaijan and Luxembourg and were hammered 4-0 by Ireland in Dublin – always an ominous sign. Ecuador, on the other hand, arrive at the World Cup following an excellent qualifying campaign that saw them finish above the likes of Chile, Colombia, and Peru. 

Ecuador are beginning to reap the benefits of an excellent youth team that won the under-20 Copa America in 2019 as well as finishing third at the under-20 World Cup in the same year. They are difficult to beat and more than capable of sending Qatar on their way to becoming the worst-performing host in World Cup history. 

Both teams to score? No 

Despite being a young team, Ecuador are not some cavalier side willing to attack at any given moment. In fact, they are the exact opposite. 

Each of Ecuador’s last six games have involved one goal or fewer, with four of those six games finishing as 0-0 draws. Their last three games have all finished goalless, while their only goal in their last five games came against Cape Verde.

They boasted the best defensive record in Conmebol qualifying after Brazil and Argentina and proved difficult to beat during last year’s Copa America. 

Qatar, who warmed up for this tournament with a series of friendlies against mighty North American nations like Guatemala and Nicaragua, may find the step up in class to be too much when they take on Ecuador on Sunday. 

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    Moises Caicedo to attempt 50 or more passes

    Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is at the heart of this Ecuador side and will help make them tick on Sunday afternoon. Just 21 years old, the midfielder has proved pivotal during Brighton’s excellent start to the season, and he could be subject to a big-money move if he performs well at the World Cup. 

    Caicedo averages 54 passes a game with Brighton and can be expected to register a similar figure here.

    Ecuador have had the lion’s share of possession in their World Cup warm-ups against Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Cape Verde, while their games against Japan, Nigeria, and Mexico have been almost exactly a 50/50 split. 

    There is no reason to believe that they will struggle to keep the ball against Qatar and subsequently, there is no reason to believe that Caicedo is not capable of attempting 50 passes. 

    Over 9.5 corners 

    The odds would suggest that there is unlikely to be too many corners in Sunday’s opener, but Ecuador and Qatar’s most recent stats suggest otherwise. 

    Ecuador have won 39 corners in their last six games at a rate of 6.5 per game, while they have won 28 corners in their last three games at a rate of over nine per game. 

    Qatar, on the other hand, have won 23 corners in their last six games for which data is available at a rate of just under four per game. 

    Between them, Qatar and Ecuador should register ten corners or more on Sunday.

    All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

    Qatar v Ecuador Bet Builder tips

    Ecuador to win
    Both teams to score – no 
    Moises Caicedo to attempt 50 or more passes
    Over 9.5 corners 

    *A Bet Builder with these bets pays at approximately 16/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

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