The winner of today's Group B will go to New Jersey to play Colombia on Friday while the runner up will be in Seattle on Thursday to play the USMNT. For a detailed breakdown of advancement scenarios, including the possibility of the drawing of lots, we at Sounder at Heart have you covered.
Ecuador (FIFA Rank 13) v Haiti (74)
Ecuador's Copa America looked to be all but over in matchday 2. They were down two goals to Peru, approaching halftime and only had a valiant draw against Brazil to show for their efforts. Then the attack that features Premier League veterans Antonio Valencia, Jefferson Montero and Enner Valencia went to work. Ecuador pulled two goals back and got the draw. They have two draws from two matches but have the very beatable Haiti as their final opponent. In order to be sure they advance they need to beat Haiti today by two goals or more.
Haiti are now playing for pride after losing their first match 1-0 to Peru and being on the other end of a Brazil 7-1 scoreline. (No Brazil, that still does not make up for Germany.) The Brazil game got away from them, but Haiti are a good squad that features a strong organized defense that is hard to break down. Haiti were unlucky to not get a 94th minute equalizer against Peru and if that one play went their way this would be a much different group. If Ecuador takes the Haitians lightly, they will ruin their tournament as anything but a win and Ecuador is eliminated.
Brazil (7) v Peru (48)
Are Brazil back on track after thrashing Haiti 7-1 or did they catch a team a bit overwhelmed by the moment and ruthlessly punish them? With a +6 goal differential coming into this game, a draw will get Brazil through the group. We all know that names like Neymar and Kaka are left off the roster, but Philippe Coutinho took center stage with a hat trick against Haiti while Filipe Luis, coming off a Champions League Final defeat for Atletico Madrid, was seemingly everywhere and Barcelona's Dani Alves had two assists and wears the armband as captain for Brazil in Copa America. The biggest stars might be missing for Brazil, but the constellation still shines as bright as any nation.
Peru have historically struggled in World Cup Qualifying, they have not made the World Cup Finals since 1982, but when it comes to Copa America they have been surprisingly great having qualified for the knockout rounds in the last seven Copa America contests including the semi-finals in both of the last two tournaments. With the result of Ecuador v Haiti known at kickoff, Peru will know if they have to play for the win or if a draw will do. A win would see them win the group regardless of other results and earn an extra day of rest before playing Colombia in the quarterfinals.
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