Brazil were looking for their fourth win and end the group stages with a hundred per cent record but Ecuador halted them at Brasilia. Brazil qualified for the quarterfinals long ago, but this draw was much needed for Ecuador regarding the progression for the next round.

Brazil’s dominance in this fixture stretches back generations; Ecuador recorded their only wins in a three-game spell between 2001 and 2004, both by skinny 1-0 margins.

It is a testament to the heft that Brazil back in their squad that they can name only two players sporting nominal starting numbers in their first-choice XI today – captain Marquinhos and goalkeeper Alisson – and still looked utterly fearsome. Neymar, Thiago Silva, Fred, Danilo and more all had to amke do with the bench.

As for Ecuador, a smattering of domestic-based talent is bolstered by the presence of European talent – Enner Valencia and Moises Caicedo among them – while young guns such as Diego Palacios got the chance to impress as well.

Brazil, in their traditional canary yellow and azure strip, wasted absolutely no time from kick-off in getting themselves into the gear and hinted, the contest would be no second-string slugfest.

Ecuador were showing plenty of beans early on. A misplaced pass in midfield allowed them to come forward; Mendez had a half-chance saved and a follow-up was blazed comfortably wide from distance.

Everton was given the set-piece duty for the hosts and following a clattering challenge on Emerson by Diego Palacios, he scripted a delivery into the Ecuador box. It came up empty-handed as an opportunity but presented a foothold for Brazil.

Douglas Luiz and Moises Caicedo went airborne together challenging for a high ball – and while the latter looked to have lead into the former’s back, Caicedo needed medical attention.

Caicedo was back on merely a minute later – after Enner Valencia attempted to catch Alisson off his line and lash a 40-yard screamer into an empty net.

Later, Moises Caicedo was off for Ecuador with Angel Mena in his place.

Gabigol, stretched out for a delightful chip, looked to possibly overextend as he collided with goalkeeper Hernan Galindez. The latter got the save done and the former was fortunately fine.

After twenty minutes of the game, Brazil were enjoying a superb 92 per cent success rate when it comes to passes. Ecuador were sporting a considerably worse figure; almost half, with 48 per cent, a shockingly concerning number.

Lucas Paqueta looked a finish just wide of the left post from the edge of the box. A deflection carried it out for a subsequent corner that comes to nothing – it was a close call.

After fifteen minutes or more, Eder Militao shrugged off his markers in the box, read Everton’s delivery to a tee and landed a looping header from 10 yards or so out, one whose arc was misjudged by Galindez and settled in the top-right corner.

The first half ended with Brazil in a dominating position as usual.

After the break, Ecuador needed a goal and survive the scare of getting knocked out from the group stages.

Eight minutes after the start, substitute, Mena made the most of a poor clearing effort from Brazil, and a succession of short headers somehow tipped him into free space on the right of the six-yard area, where he rifled a low finish past Alisson with precision.

Ecuador were back on level terms.

After the goal, Ecuador broke fast and Militao had to head a delivery away to safety before a potential finish could be crafted.

Tite substituted Roberto Firmino who had a lesser amount of passes than Gabigol in the outfield and injected fresh legs in the shape of Vinicius Junior.

Lucas Paqueta was a bright presence in a team that missed Neymar’s creativity going forward but most of the replacements failed to impress.

It was not until Casemiro replaced Douglas Luiz after just an hour that Brazil regained their poise.

Brazil failed to cut a satisfactory figure in the second half and with just ten minutes remaining, Mena could have given Ecuador a shocking lead if the meaty gloves of Alisson were not there.

Ecuador regained their poise and hauled the passing rate up to 80 per cent after the break, and have hovered around that mark or above. It was a vastly more disciplined performance in terms of distribution.

The game ended 1-1 With Peru defeating Venezuela 1-0 in the other Group B game, Peru joined Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador in the quarter-finals as Venezuela exited.

The Venezuelans were hard hit in the early stages of the tournament when at least eight players tested positive for COVID-19 and had to self-isolate.

The quarter-final matchups will be decided on Monday after the final round of Group A fixtures.

Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have already guaranteed their place in the last eight.

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Bolivia are already out, having lost all three of their games so far.

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