In the spirit of easing the quiet around here these days, I’ll add a brief post to say the the best football this international break is the qualifiers for CONMEBOL’s WC slots for 2026.
Interestingly, yesterday was the day of upsets, small and large. First, Bolivia (who almost never qualifies) beat Peru in La Paz.
Then, Venezuela, who recently beat Brazil in Brazil, tied my beloved Ecuador, not totally an upset, but given how weak Venezuela used to be, just shows that this Venezuela squad with Rondón and Soteldo amongst them…is not as weak as it used to be.
Later yesterday evening, Uruguay beat Argentina in the Bombonera, 0-2.
And the biggest upset, Colombia beat Brazil in Colombia, 2-1.
Vini Jr came out injured not long after Martinelli scored a 2nd minute opener for Brazil. Reportedly a great game for James Rodriguez and for Luis Diaz, author of both goals, only 4 minutes apart in the 75’ and 79’.
The final piece of interesting news from the Luis Diaz goals are the fact that the victory comes just days after his father was released from captivity after being held hostage for a number of days for ransom. Quite the moment after such a hard time in his life.
Yep, that’s correct. And with baseball typically taking a bigger place in Venezuelan culture, until this year, no one really expected them to.
Another interesting fact, Ecuador had never qualified until 2002, their first world cup. They went on to qualify again in 2006, 2014 and 2022. So, 4 out of the last 6. And then 2010 was stolen from them by dirty Luis Suarez BS in the final match. So nearly 5 out of 6.
I often look at even European WC qualifying and think that 4.5 slots out of ten solid nations in Conmebol makes South America harder qualifying than Europe. However, with the new format, the slots are expanding to 6.5. in other words, in a “normal” year, as long as you best Bolivia, Venezuela and, say, Peru, you’re already into the world cup.
I have actually found myself wondering when the Americas collapse into a single Confederation, which ends up looking more similar to UEFA. Multiple layers, tons of weak teams, but still always a threat of some solid teams going home. Have said that, I have a special affection for Conmebol because every match, every date on the calendar is special, there are almost no guaranteed boring matches where you can rest your stars. I suspect the 6.5 out of 10 slots may water that down a bit, especially in the final dates once top nations are secured to not drop to 8th.
Anyhow, in other news, Copa America is in the USA this coming summer, 6 from Concacaf and 10 from Conmebol. Should be exciting!
Darwin Nuñez becoming the next Uruguayan super striker. He has been slowly popping off more in Liverpool but more and more in the national team as well. He did some great things when they beat Brazil as well, spectacular assist on De la Cruz. Small Uruguay creating another brilliant football generation👏
Yeah, it’s hard to say, but I think all interests align in the federations, which in my mind means it will happen eventually. Clearly, less beneficial for the fans, but that’s never been the decisionmaking factor in football.
I guess in terms of fans interests, it will definitely make N American and C American qualifying WAAAAY more interesting. So I guess South American viewers are the real losers if they end up merging. Maybe FIFA could stand in the way of such a merger, since having separate confederations is sort of a basic feature of the qualifying structure…