So here we are. The final chapter. South America's cross-country, highly-demanding, often-erratic, climate-ridden World Cup qualifying campaign approaches its inevitable conclusion. Not even Frodo Baggins' quest to destroy the cursed ring could imagine such a tortuous journey.
In many ways, the story ends the way most of us predicted. Brazil and Argentina -- the continent's Man City and Liverpool -- are already in Qatar. Both undefeated, with a combined goal tally of 55 goals and an embarrassment of riches within their respective rosters, have shown once again why their performances set the bar. It's not to say they will slow down in these final two games, or let anything slip. Part of it is history as there has never been a qualifying phase where a team didn't lose. In this one, we have two.
There is also emotion involved. For Brazilian players, for example, they see this as a goodbye in qualifiers to their beloved coach Tite, as he will leave his managerial post after the World Cup. Since the 60-year-old tactician took over in 2016, Brazil have only lost five times. It's a remarkable record. If they win their remaining two matches, the Seleção will have the record for all-time points in CONMEBOL qualifying. Quite simply, Brazilians want this for Tite.
From a squad perspective, there's no Ederson as the Man City shot-stopper pulled out due to illness. He was replaced by Atlético Mineiro's Everson but the starting spot will naturally fall to Liverpool's Alisson. Elsewhere, the usual names are there. Neymar could use this break, as he escapes the nightmare in Paris, while Gabriel Martinelli -- playing his best football with Arsenal right now -- will surely grab this window with both hands. This is his first call up to the national team after his Olympic call up. He's one of many Premier League-based Brazilians, which also include Raphinha, Phillippe Coutinho, Bruno Guimarães and a few others. Oh, did I mention Ajax's Antony and Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo are also here?
Yes, I know. It's ridiculous. Chile, who sit in sixth place with 21 points, only two points from an intercontinental playoff spot. This is a monumental game for them. Not just because beating Brazil in their own home has never been done in qualifiers, but it's the added notion that this could be the end of La Roja's golden era. Players who brought so much glory, such as Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, Claudio Bravo and Mauricio Isla -- this could be their last dance. There is the added headache of Ben Brereton Diaz's status as Blackburn's striker -- despite traveling to Chile -- has not played since Feb. 14 due to an ankle ligament injury. Time will tell and fate awaits.
In terms of Argentina, the Copa America champion, their quest is not done as Lionel Scaloni doesn't want anybody to take their foot off the pedal. There are players missing, such as the enigmatic Lautaro Martinez -- who has been scoring goals for fun under Lionel Scaloni (19 goals) -- will not be there due to a positive COVID case. Others such as Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero have been suspended due to the debacle that was the suspension of Argentina's trip to Brazil in September. A lot of young players have been called up too. We're talking about 17- and 18-year-old talents. It's a sentiment familiar with Scaloni, who knows too well that the best way to succeed as a national team is making sure that the future needs to learn the mentality of the present. Games against Venezuela and Ecuador, who are practically at the World Cup, will be a continuation of the good work already achieved by the Albiceleste.
The aforementioned Ecuador, in third place, have all but sealed their place at the World Cup and this achievement should not be completely disregarded. This impressive, talented roster has scored more goals than Argentina in qualifiers and their do-or-die attitude is overwhelming for anyone who dares to face them. They are soccer's Memphis Grizzlies. Unafraid, uber talented and with no need to respect anyone. They can cement their place on Thursday against Paraguay.
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Seventh place Colombia, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. It has been incredibly surprising to see Los Cafeteros suffer so much, especially from something they traditionally love to do, which is score goals. Something they haven't done since last September. A home game against Bolivia will most definitely break this trend but honestly, I just don't know anymore. Reinaldo Rueda has done something to Colombia I never thought possible. He's made them boring. The situation, therefore, has left them to depend on other teams because even if they win their last two games (concluding with 23 points) they must rely on teams above them. That's the aforementioned Chile and the popcorn-ready thriller that we might expect in Montevideo:
Uruguay (fourth) against Peru (fifth).
Things have been difficult for the home side, which led to the departure of an institution. Oscar "El Maestro" Tabarez, who practically revolutionized the game in Uruguay, left after poor results and in his place came Diego Alonso. It has started well for him as the team picked up wins against Paraguay and Venezuela. Alonso brought stability once again and brought confidence back to their midfield, which includes Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde. They will miss Inter's Matias Vecino, however, reportedly due to COVID. But hopes remain high for them and If they beat Peru and Chile lose to Brazil, La Celeste will be in Qatar.
Don't sleep on Peru: South America's ultimate underdog. It's incredible to believe that the fate of this team's World Cup hopes still remains in their hands. Last September, Ricardo Gareca's side was dead last in the standings. They're now in fifth, once again, so close to reaching the tournament.
"For us, we've always had to do it the hard way. We've had to suffer and even now, until the last one, we're always going to suffer," said Nolberto Solano, Peru's former player and now an assistant to Gareca. "I think, humbly, that this is a very strong group. We have a squad that knows how to compete in these last few years, and we keep going with that spirit, competitive, against great teams here in South America. Hopefully if God permits, we'll have another chance of returning to the World Cup."
It's true. Peru has to suffer in order to advance. It's written in the stars above the Andes. Otherwise, the victory can't be earned. Much of their gusto depends on the collective as Peru are at their best when they control the game without the ball. When they have it, possession can be fast and aggressive, but if it's erratic, then it can be damaging. If there's a man who can do this once again, however, it's Ricardo Gareca. The Argentine manager has literally squeezed gold out of a squad with no stars. There are good players but no game changers, so this assignment -- as it's always been the case -- is about the group.
"We went through a very hard period with a lot of criticism, a lot of "it can't be done" and I think he resuscitated Peruvians," said Solano. "[He] injected the team from its root -- that indeed, it can be done."
We will see if indeed it can be done and finally learn the outcome of the game's best telenovela, the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
Grab a seat.
Top four teams qualify for Qatar 2022; Fifth-placed team heads to playoff.
SOUTH AMERICA (CONMEBOL 4.5 PLACES)
The top four nations qualify directly to the finals.
There is only one qualifying stage within Conmebol which pits all 10 nations against one another in a traditional league format. All nations play each other twice, with the sides finishing in the top four qualifying automatically for the World Cup finals. When is the Fifa World Cup draw?Did Peru make it to the World Cup 2022? ›
Doha, Qatar – Peru's football fans were left in tears after their team missed out on World Cup 2022 qualification following a 5-4 loss on penalty kicks to Australia.Can Chile qualify for the World Cup? ›
Chile has lost its appeal to FIFA to replace Ecuador at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the world football governing body announced on Friday.Can Peru make the World Cup? ›
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: Peru qualifies for playoffs, Chile and Colombia out.How many teams from CONMEBOL go to World Cup 2026? ›
A total of 6.5 slots (6 direct slots and 1 inter-confederation play-off slot) in the final tournament are available for CONMEBOL teams.Why Guyana is not part of CONMEBOL? ›
Geographically the Guyana Highlands cut off the Guianas from the rest of South America. Historically the physical landscape prevented travel to the rest of South America, and the Caribbean Football Union was founded when southward travel was still an issue.What does CONMEBOL stand for? ›
In football: International organization. The first of these, the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (commonly known as CONMEBOL), was founded in South America in 1916.How much money does CONMEBOL make? ›
Five ASEAN countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - officially proposed hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
On 9 October 2019, five ASEAN countries officially proposed hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup. Thailand is to lead the initiative.Did Costa Rica make the World Cup 2022? ›
Costa Rica have become the final team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after beating New Zealand in the intercontinental play-off. The Central American nation beat New Zealand 1-0 on Tuesday evening courtesy of Joel Campbell's strike.Why was Ecuador kicked out of the World Cup? ›
Ecuador faces being kicked out of the FIFA World Cup after evidence that player used fake birth documents emerges.Who will automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup? ›
The United Bid personnel anticipated that all three host countries would be awarded automatic berths. Eventually, on August 31, 2022, during a visit to Guatemala, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed six CONCACAF teams will qualify for the World Cup, including Canada, Mexico and the United States as hosts.Why did Chile not make the World Cup? ›
FIFA dismissed Chile's argument that Ecuador player Castillo was Colombian and ineligible to play at the World Cup. Chile has lost its appeal to the world governing body challenging Ecuador's place at the upcoming football World Cup in Qatar.Can Costa Rica make the World Cup? ›
Costa Rica qualified for their sixth all-time FIFA World Cup. Qatar will mark the third consecutive appearance in the event for Los Ticos.Is the World Cup actually made of gold? ›
Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded the commission. The trophy stands 36.5 centimetres (14.4 in) tall and is made of 6.175 kilograms (13.61 lb) or 30,875 Carats of 18 karat (75%) gold, worth approximately US$161,000 in 2018, with a base 13 centimetres (5.1 in) in diameter containing two layers of malachite.Is Colombia going to 2022 World Cup? ›
James Rodriguez said his soul is broken by the fact that Colombia will not be at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, after they failed to qualify.Will FIFA 23 have World Cup? ›
See what's new in FIFA 23, with HyperMotion2 Technology, both men's and women's FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, cross-play features, and more.Where will fifa 2030 be held? ›
Ukraine has joined Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. The new partnership was confirmed by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) during a news conference at the Swiss headquarters of UEFA, European soccer's governing body.
🚨 Official trophy of the match between Italy and Argentina - 'Finalissima' 🗓 1st June ⏰ 20:45 CET 🏟 Wembley 86,000 capacity 🎟 Ticket sale from 24 March!Why is Suriname in CONCACAF not CONMEBOL? ›
While the nation is geographically part of South America, like neigbouring Guyana and French Guiana it enjoys far closer historical and cultural ties to the Caribbean region, hence its association with CONCACAF rather than CONMEBOL.Why are the Guianas in CONCACAF? ›
Because they are citizens of the American continent = North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.Why is French Guiana not Recognised by FIFA? ›
As an overseas department of the French Republic, it is an integral part of France and thus not a member of FIFA. French Guiana is therefore not eligible to enter a team in the World Cup independent of France.Is CONMEBOL Sudamericana a rare card? ›
Currently, the only Special Items in FIFA 22 that have Common versions are CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana. All other Special Items in FIFA 22 are designated as Rare.Do CONMEBOL players count as silver? ›
Yes they do lad.Are CONMEBOL Libertadores cards rare? ›
These cards take up rare slots in packs that EA sells and advertises as having guaranteed rares, and they are absolutely defective because they don't work as rares in the majority of icon SBCs.Do Copa America players get paid? ›
Individual Players also awarded prize money and the team also gets money from Sponsors. Other than that the Qualified team will also get Prize Money worth $2 Million.Who has the rights to CONMEBOL? ›
Conmebol TV is owned by the continental governing body and produced by the BandSports pay-television arm of Brazilian media group Bandeirantes.How many advances are in CONMEBOL? ›
The top four automatically advance, with the first two places already going to Brazil and Argentina. So that leaves two direct spots and the fifth-place spot, which comes with an intercontinental playoff.
James Rodriguez said his soul is broken by the fact that Colombia will not be at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, after they failed to qualify.How many teams qualify for World Cup from Concacaf? ›
MIAMI, Florida – The four Concacaf teams participating in this year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Mexico, United States, Canada and Costa Rica, are back in action this week with a slate of international friendlies in what will be their final tune-ups before the start of the World Cup, which begins in 60 days.How many countries make up CONMEBOL? ›
América is governed by the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (commonly known as CONMEBOL), and the tournament's field consists of the 10 national teams that are members of CONMEBOL—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela—plus two additional national teams that are ...Is Conmebol Sudamericana a rare card? ›
Currently, the only Special Items in FIFA 22 that have Common versions are CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana. All other Special Items in FIFA 22 are designated as Rare.Are Conmebol Libertadores cards rare? ›
These cards take up rare slots in packs that EA sells and advertises as having guaranteed rares, and they are absolutely defective because they don't work as rares in the majority of icon SBCs.Why is Italy not in World Cup? ›
European champion Italy will not play in the 2022 World Cup after being beaten by North Macedonia in its play-off in Palermo. Italy has now failed to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.Where will the next 2026 World Cup be held? ›
Where will the 2026 World Cup take place? The 2026 World Cup will take place in three North American countries: the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This will be the first time that the tournament is hosted by three different nations and it will be the very first time that the event will be contested in Canada.Which country has not qualified for 2022? ›
- Italy. The country missed out on securing a spot after a 92nd-minute loss to North Macedonia in their playoff semifinal in March. ...
- Russia. ...
- Chile. ...
The United Bid personnel anticipated that all three host countries would be awarded automatic berths. Eventually, on August 31, 2022, during a visit to Guatemala, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed six CONCACAF teams will qualify for the World Cup, including Canada, Mexico and the United States as hosts.Why is Qatar in the CONCACAF tournament? ›
Qatar are not members of the North American football confederation CONCACAF, and were invited to the Gold Cup as guests for the first time in 2021.
|Subsidiaries||NAFU (North America) UNCAF (Central America) CFU (Caribbean)|
Why Guyana and Suriname are not members of CONMEBOL even though they are on the South American continent is tradition. Guyana (1975) and Suriname (1966) only recently gained their independence as nations.Why does Guyana play in CONMEBOL? ›
Geographically the Guyana Highlands cut off the Guianas from the rest of South America. Historically the physical landscape prevented travel to the rest of South America, and the Caribbean Football Union was founded when southward travel was still an issue.What happens if Ecuador is disqualified? ›
What would have happened if Ecuador was disqualified from the World Cup? If FIFA found that Ecuador used an ineligible player, the team could have been forced to forfeit all eight qualifying games that Castillo played in as 3-0 losses.