Although the Copa Libertadores has yet to define its last group stage matches and the UEFA Champions League final awaits to mark the end of the European season, South American football is already preparing for the resumption of the Playoffs in just a week.
Very far in the past was the fourth date, played back in November 2020. Now, with the America’s Cup on the horizon, the ten teams of the continent their first (and for almost the majority) main objective is the two days of the World Cup qualification, which will be essential for the near future.
This is how the South American selected teams are seven days away from the Qualifiers.
The arrival of Lionel Messi to the country set in motion a new illusion, especially related to the Copa América, a title that he has not won for almost thirty years. With the calm that the position in the qualifying table gives, Lionel Scaloni’s team began training this Wednesday, with a good number of those summoned already in the bubble of the Ezeiza property. The last to arrive will be Sergio Agüero, after the Champions League final. La Albiceleste will play against Chile at home on Thursday.
The work began this Tuesday at a High Performance Center located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, with a group of six players who were released by their clubs. The rest, among which are the men of The Strongest and Always Ready who are playing the Copa Libertadores, will join in the next few hours. La Verde is last in the Qualifiers and faces a great opportunity to add its first win: against Venezuela in La Paz. Far from the power of the majority of his rivals, César Farías will seek to regain his performance to once again believe that it is possible to fight and also have a good Copa América. He still has time.
The other giant of the region also prepares the return to competition smoothly and calmly. This Wednesday the European players began to arrive at the Teresópolis concentration and on Thursday they will begin training with youth from Flamengo and Fluminense. Neymar, the great star of the team, is expected to join in the next few hours, while Ederson, Gabriel Jesús and Thiago SIlva will arrive after the Champions League final. Brazil leads the Qualifiers with an ideal score and will face Ecuador in Porto Alegre next Friday.
The Chilean teams already work under the orders of Martín Lasarte, the coach who will begin his cycle in this double round of qualifying. With the English-born striker Ben Brereton as the protagonist of these first practices and with the old guard led by the Italian champions Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sánchez, La Roja need to recover as soon as possible from the weak start. It is one of the teams whose main objective is the Qualifiers, beyond the Copa América. He will play in Argentina on Thursday the 3rd and then in Bolivia, on Tuesday the 8th.
Like the Chileans, the Colombians will also begin the stage of getting to know the new coaching staff, headed by Reinaldo Rueda. Several of the great figures of the Tricolor are already in the country, such as James Rodríguez as standard bearer, but the work will begin next Friday in Barranquilla. Colombia is also urged to score points so as not to sink in the Qualifiers, since in the last two days it suffered hard defeats against that caused the departure of Carlos Queiroz. He has already suffered the loss of Juan Fernando Quintero and I hope I will not have to endure any more inconveniences. On Thursday 3 he will collide with Peru, a direct rival, in Lima.
One of the best teams of the last double day will try to repeat the performances of the games against Bolivia and Colombia. This Wednesday, the training sessions began under Gustavo Alfaro, ten of the most important players on the squad, who shortened their days off to arrive earlier at the Selection House, in Quito. La Tri will play again and will have a great challenge against Brazil as a visitor. With nine points, she is third in the table and staying in that place is Ecuador’s main goal.
Eduardo Berizzo managed to gather his players before the rest of the coaches and has already worked with 14 elements in the High Performance Center “Esc. Óscar Harrison ”. With the brothers Ángel and Óscar Romero at the helm, the Albirroja is preparing for two matches that can define what its objectives will be in the Qualifiers. If he achieves good results against Uruguay in Montevideo and Brazil in Asunción, he will establish himself among those who will fight for the World Cup qualification, while if he does not add it could complicate his future.
Ricardo Gareca also already received several of those summoned in the concentration of Lima. El Tigre also suffered two very sensitive casualties: those of Edison Flores and Christofer Gonzáles, important pieces of his plan. However, Peru maintains its good spirits to recover in the Qualifiers, which have it in the lower zone with only one point in four dates. This double day will be fundamental, because the Bicolor knows well how to leave the bad moments behind. For the coaching staff, there is only the Eliminatory. It will collide with two direct adversaries: Colombia at home and Ecuador in Quito.
The position in the table is not the best but it does not worry either. La Celeste lost two games (against Brazil and in Quito) and won two, so they need to regain the consistency and confidence of other times. Oscar Tabárez began work with six footballers this Wednesday in Montevideo. While waiting for the Spanish League champion Luis Suárez and Edison Cavani, who scored in the final but lost the Europa League, the Uruguayan team will go for six points in this double match that will face Paraguay and Venezuela.
José Peseiro was the first technical director who managed to have his entire squad. The training sessions began last Sunday and on Wednesday the last members joined the training sessions in Caracas. With the loss of Jesús Bueno due to covid 19, the Vinotinto players received the Sinovac vaccine against the coronavirus. Venezuela is at the bottom of the qualifying table and the first thing it will seek is to regain confidence in the match against Bolivia.