Brazil will respect Ecuador

PASADENA (California) • Brazil coach Dunga says his team will not underestimate Ecuador after their recent impressive performances but will go for a win in their Copa America opener.

The teams meet at Pasadena's Rose Bowl with Ecuador riding high in South America's World Cup qualifying, while Brazil languish in midtable.

"Ecuador have been playing together for a long time. They're a fast team, a strong team who mark very well. They're a team that know how to play collectively," he said on Friday.

With the temperature expected to touch 36 deg C during the match, the Brazil coach said keeping the ball would be key to getting through the game.

"Playing at high altitude in Ecuador is always complicated but this will be a different game, because it's going to be hot," he said. "Many players are coming off their regular season. It's going to be about possession."

But keeping the ball will be difficult for Brazil, who are without several first-choice players who are either injured or being rested for the Olympics.

Ecuador coach Gustavo Quinteros, nevertheless, made light of Brazil's injuries, arguing that Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is as big a threat as any missing player.

"Neymar is not playing but Coutinho is playing and he's just the same, maybe even better," said the coach, whose side enter the Copa tied with Uruguay atop the World Cup qualifying table.

He added that facing Brazil in their opening tie is a "very special moment" but played down the importance of a win.

"We have quite an important game, but perhaps the one after that is even more important for Ecuador," he said, indicating a draw would be a good result.

Haiti and Peru complete Group B.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 05, 2016, with the headline 'Brazil will respect Ecuador'. Print Edition | Subscribe