Less than a year from the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the South American Qualifiers closed a very intense 2021 and are preparing to enter the definition stage, with two classifieds and a bloody fight for the last places, with five selected separated by two points when twelve remain to be played.
The Conmebol delivers four direct places and one to the repechage. The format is the well-known one, which has been used since France 1998: the ten selected from the region face off against each other back and forth. The competition has already played 14 of the 18 rounds (10 of which were in 2021) and the remaining four will be played in January and March 2022.
This is a very different qualifying round than usual. Much tighter in time due to the covid-19 pandemic, it left two classified to four (although in reality five for them) games from the end for the first time in history. Brazil Y Argentina, the two continental giants set the pace like never before and they have already secured their passage.
La Canarinha won 11 of its 13 matches and drew two. Meanwhile, the Albiceleste, champion of America, is also undefeated: it has 8 wins and 5 draws. They come from facing each other and equalizing without goals in San Juan, a result that gave the venue a ticket.
The difference that both made is great not only in the standings, but also in each field of play. By hierarchy, regularity and operation, they have no competitors. It is not something that always happens in South America, but this time it deepened. Both will be candidates in the World Cup.
In the third place appears, very comfortable, Ecuador. With a young and fresh squad, La Tri delivered a coup of authority on the November doubleheader and took a six-point lead from fourth. He has not yet assured his classification, but he is one step away from doing so and playing his third World Cup.
Then competitive hell. From the fourth, Colombia, to the ninth, Paraguay, there are only four points of difference. Besides the eighth, Bolivia, it is only two units from the classification zone direct. Anything can happen, everyone can fight.
Irregularity was the common point. Peru went from penultimate to fifth after two victories. Colombia It has been five games that he has not scored a goal but is still fourth. Uruguay he lost four games in a row although he did not get out of the fight. chili loses from home the points that Bolivia wins. Paraguay only adds two wins although it is still expectant.
It is impossible to guess what may happen in the last four dates. There are parties for all tastes. Direct confrontations such as Colombia-Peru or Uruguay-Chile, outings to stadiums of the qualifiers, duels before a Venezuela almost eliminated. It will be four days of all or nothing, in search of a direct place and another to the playoffs, provided that Ecuador reaffirms its place.
– This is how the UEFA Qualifiers are (Europe)
– This is the CONCACAF Qualifiers (North and Central America)
– This is how the AFC Qualifiers are (Asia)
– This is how the CAF Qualifiers are (Africa)
– This is the OFC Qualifiers (Oceania)