South American World Cup qualifying: Can anyone catch Argentina?

  • Post category:Sports
  • Post comments:0 Comments

Because the South American World Cup qualifiers kick off, all eyes flip to Argentina, the reigning world champions. With Lionel Messi nonetheless main the cost, can La Albiceleste preserve their dominance?

Tim Vickery delves into the challenges and prospects of every CONMEBOL nation.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga & extra (U.S.)
– Go to ESPN’s South American WCQ homepage

Performs at house to Ecuador on Thursday, then away to Bolivia subsequent Tuesday

The world champions are the one workforce within the subject whose coach has been in cost for an prolonged time period. Lionel Scaloni started his extraordinary five-year reign as a stand-in and ended up taking the workforce to glory in Qatar, efficiently constructing a workforce round Messi. Will Messi nonetheless be round in 2026? It’s quickly to say, however he’s actually nonetheless round now, the centrepiece of a facet which is able to now bear a gradual transition, the place Nicolás Otamendi (absolutely) and Ángel Di María (probably) can be discarded alongside the best way.

The beginning isn’t straightforward. Tuesday’s journey to the acute altitude of La Paz is a nightmare, and Ecuador’s physicality might present some issues for the house defence in Buenos Aires on Thursday. However, whereas nearly all their rivals seem like in a state of flux and frenzy, Argentina can put together to defend their title in relative tranquillity.

Performs at house to Chile on Friday, then away to Ecuador on Tuesday

New head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s “my approach or the freeway” strategy is already inflicting ripples, with the controversial absences of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez. Predictably, Bielsa has gone with a younger squad, a dynamic group of gamers with the lung energy to hold out his high-octane fashion of play. It’s an fascinating match — Uruguay’s Below-20 workforce have been a constant provider of expertise for the senior ranks, and within the likes of Federico Valverde and Darwin Núñez there’s loads of high quality uncooked materials for Bielsa to work with. However the workforce will clearly be undercooked. Bielsa used his solely two video games to this point — friendlies in June — to have a look at fringe gamers. His Uruguay facet may want a while to take form, however they’ll actually be price watching.

Performs away to Argentina on Thursday, then at house to Uruguay on Tuesday

Ecuador go into the marketing campaign three factors behind everybody else — a punishment handed out for suspicions in regards to the paperwork of right-back Byron Castillo within the Qatar qualifiers. They’ve gone with a Spanish coach, Felix Sanchez, who was accountable for Qatar within the earlier World Cup cycle. The match is clear. Sanchez shares an analogous philosophy to Independiente del Valle, the extraordinary little membership which is producing so many gamers for the nationwide workforce. The brand new man has loads of expertise to work with, though the workforce stay depending on veteran striker Enner Valencia for objectives. Sanchez seems to have bedded in a 3 centre-back formation, liberating the facet to assault down the flanks. Fast, sturdy and athletic, not many sides will relish dealing with Ecuador — particularly on the altitude of Quito.

Performs away to Paraguay on Thursday, then at house to Brazil on Tuesday

After performing with credit score in Russia 2018 and narrowly lacking out on Qatar, these are worrying occasions for Peru. The membership sport is in a foul approach — within the final 11 years no Peruvian facet has made it out of the group section within the Copa Libertadores — and there’s a dearth of younger expertise to switch a technology which has been punching above its weight in current occasions. They’ve turned to former nationwide workforce captain Juan Reynoso to educate the facet. An imposing centre-back in his day and a strong-minded coach, Reynoso would appear to be a good selection, however he has little to work with, and numerous accidents to his defenders will make life more durable in these opening two rounds. Peru’s conventional sturdy type at house can be important to their probabilities.

Performs at house to Venezuela on Thursday, then away to Chile on Tuesday

Colombia have been the most important disappointments within the Qatar marketing campaign. After two consecutive good World Cups, they missed out on 2022 — at one level going a scarcely plausible seven straight video games with out scoring. Now they’ve turned to Nestor Lorenzo, an assistant coach through the good occasions, and he has made a wonderful begin — two attracts and 6 wins, together with a morale boosting triumph away to Germany final outing. The ambiance of Colombian soccer is often turbulent, and there are at all times rows and controversies in regards to the name ups. However Los Cafeteros can sit up for this marketing campaign with appreciable confidence. With the growth of the event, it might be really outstanding if such a proficient group have been to overlook out on a second consecutive World Cup.

Performs at house to Bolivia on Friday, then away to Peru on Tuesday

Whereas Brazil await the — unconfirmed — arrival of Carlo Ancelotti subsequent 12 months, Fernando Diniz takes over the workforce on a brief foundation. There are excessive hopes that this unorthodox thinker is perhaps a superb match for the nationwide workforce, however he’s hampered by a scarcity of preparation time — he met his gamers for the primary time this week — and the burdens of Brazil’s crowded membership calendar, since his day job is teaching Fluminense in Rio.

There should be loads of last-minute improvisation. It had been thought that this may begin a cycle the place Vinícius Júnior can be the principle attacking weapon. However he’s injured, there are doubts about Neymar’s health and Lucas Paquetá and Antony have each needed to be disregarded, with the latter launched from worldwide responsibility after the Brazil Soccer Confederation (CBF) cited home violence allegations “which should be investigated.”



Brazil president questions choice to nominate Ancelotti as supervisor

Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wonders why Carlo Ancelotti has by no means been Italy supervisor.

Performs away to Uruguay on Friday, then at house to Colombia on Tuesday

Chile kick off this week with coach Eduardro Berizzo assembly his former mentor Bielsa. However Berizzo is at a transparent drawback: The place Uruguay have a conveyor belt of expertise coming via, the Chilean manufacturing line has been spluttering for years. The important thing gamers stay the veterans who got here via the 2007 Below-20 facet and went on to win the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 — Alexis Sánchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, and different veterans similar to Charles Aránguiz and Erick Pulgar. Chile appeared to expire of steam some years in the past, and exhausting although Berizzo is wanting, new top-class names aren’t rising. Berizzo has forged the web large, calling up 45 gamers. If Chile are to make the reduce, a number of the children are going to should develop up shortly.

Performs at house to Peru on Thursday, then away to Venezuela on Tuesday

Since reaching the quarterfinals for the primary time in 2010, Paraguay have endured three very poor qualification campaigns, however have loads of religion that this time they’re going to get it proper. Coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto — one more Argentine — was in cost for the previous few rounds of the Qatar qualifiers and concludes that the expertise has given him a significantly better perception into the Paraguayan mindset. And the Premier League fireworks of Miguel Almirón and Julio Enciso give rise to a religion that scoring objectives can be much less of an issue this time spherical, though Enciso will miss the opening two rounds with damage. However with a little bit little bit of attacking aptitude to go together with the legendary Paraguayan preventing spirit, the nation can be very upset to overlook out for a fourth time in a row.

Performs away to Brazil on Friday, at house to Argentina on Tuesday

Home Bolivian soccer is in absolute disaster, with this 12 months’s event annulled due to a match manipulation scandal. The nationwide workforce, nonetheless, may very well be the principle beneficiary of the growth of the World Cup. It is because Bolivia decide up so many factors of their mountain fortress, on the excessive altitude of La Paz, that there’s at all times an opportunity of creating the reduce. Coach Gustavo Costas is an fascinating selection. He has by no means been glamorous, however throughout the continent his groups have at all times been aggressive. Not seen on the World Cup since their golden technology went to USA 94, Bolivia have a superb opportunity of returning to the limelight when the USA, Canada and Mexico host the World Cup in 2026.

Performs away to Colombia on Thursday, then house to Paraguay on Tuesday

The one South American workforce to not have appeared at a World Cup, Venezuela are assured of creating their debut in 2026. True, there was an analogous feeling within the build-up to the Qatar qualifiers, when the technology that reached the ultimate of the 2017 Below-20 World Cup appeared able to step up. However all the pieces went flawed final time — particularly the truth that the pandemic dominated key centre-forward Salomon Rondon out of many of the early rounds. One downside is that Rondon may now be previous his finest, however Venezuelan soccer continues to supply fascinating expertise, and outcomes beneath new coach Fernando Batista have been encouraging to this point. A superb begin is important to morale, and in the event that they decide up early factors then a World Cup debut would seem properly inside Venezuela’s grasp.

Source link

Spread the love

Leave a Reply