Since the format change in 1996, South American qualifiers they are the most extensive and competitive competition in the world. The second part of the statement is reckless, but very difficult to refute. It has many of the best footballers in European football, teams with history and prestige, various difficulties ranging from sports to geography and a unique duration. But this last point was modified by the pandemic and What in other times lasted for almost two years, today will have to be resolved in little more than ten months. Is this good or bad for the selections? It depends on the look.
On the one hand, that the World Cup qualification is defined in a much shorter time than usual. avoids many of the typical problems. Because in this championship the coaches must deal with changes of all kinds in their players, from football downturns typical of each instance of the year to the simple chronological deterioration of their qualities, which in two seasons can be noticed a lot. So, the preparation is different, more similar to a short tournament, in which the teams vary less.
The 14 dates that will be held between June of this year and March 2022 force us to rethink the way to face them. With two games every several months, the names can be changed and even injuries are not so damaging because there are better chances of recovery. On the other hand, with this rushed format, any major physical problem can cause a loss for several games and then putting together a fixed eleven with few changes becomes everyone’s desire.
Although not confirmed yet, In just five months of 2021, ten days would be held, with windows of two and three dates. The fate of the ten selected will be defined between June and November, with a calendar that also has the Copa América in between. They will be weeks of enormous tension and wear and tear, in which mental and emotional capacity can be as important as football responses.
The beginning is long gone and now another mini tournament begins. Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador have a very interesting point base after their great start, but the strengths and weaknesses shown last year can easily be lost or fixed today. If in the 2018 Qualifiers Ecuador lost the advantage achieved in those first four dates, even more so that can happen now, with much less time between games.
Getting off to a good start in June’s double shift may be essential for the rest of the competition. Especially for those selected who arrive complicated in the table, such as Colombia, Chile and Peru. The first two changed coaches and are a mystery, while the Bicolor has the challenge of recovering the intensity and the game that led them to Russia 2018. The three need to add as soon as possible to believe again.
Two issues will be important: take advantage of the clean and jerk of victories and recover as quickly as possible from defeats. There is no time to mourn or relax. The competitiveness of continental football is known and anyone is in a position to compete against anyone.
If in the recent past the South American Qualifiers were recognized for the length and difficulty of their dispute, this time only half of that description remains. Those who best adapt to the new reality will triumph. Qatar awaits you. Soon.