How beneficial would the new Qualifiers format be for Peru?

How beneficial would the new Qualifiers format be for Peru?

Conmebol and FIFA are evaluating new changes in the format for the Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, something that the Peruvian team will have to deal with.

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    How beneficial would the new Qualifiers format be for Peru?

    FIFA and CONMEBOL evaluate changes in the format of the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup | Photo: Daniel Apuy/@photo.gec

    It's painful, yes, quite painful. But the tears will dry. The affliction will end. And a new chapter will begin. Although the dream of Qatar 2022 could not be realized, new dreams are on the horizon to be fulfilled. The Peruvian national team will have another long way to go, towards the World Cup 2026, and from now on it is necessary to prepare for what is to come, even more so with the changes that will take place.

    First of all, the variations that will be in the 2026 World Cup have already been confirmed, starting with the fact that it will be played in three shared venues: Mexico, the United States and Canada. For this edition of the contest, there will be 48 participating countries, which means an increase in quotas in each FIFA Confederation.

    So, it is known that Conmebol will go from having four and a half quotas to six and a half in the following Qualifiers, but this will necessarily involve some variations in the format of the South American qualifier.

    In fact, Gonzalo Belloso, FIFA's strategic adviser for the Conmebol, assured last month that the 'all against all' will no longer be played as it has been done, traditionally, since the Qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup. Now, the game system will be discontinued and immediately.

    < p itemprop="description" class="story-contents__font-paragraph">Conmebolis working on a different format that is more attractive over time, because South America is going to have six and a half slots (…) An 18-game tie like ours, on date 10 or 12, would already lose interest. I understand that Conmebol is looking for a model that makes the tie competitive until the end”, warned Belloso in an interview with DirecTV Sports .

    In this context, this Thursday Movistar Deportes announced the proposal that the highest entity in South American football is handling, hand in hand with FIFA, for the change of format in the Qualifiers.

    As was already announced, it will no longer be played in a 'all against all' system, but instead the 10 countries of the Conmebol will be divided into two groups initially for the dispute of the qualifier, which would no longer start in March, but in September of next year (2023).

    The two groups (A and B) would have five selections each. In this sense, the members of Group A will have to measure forces with those of Group B in round-trip matches, so each team will play a minimum of 10 games in this first phase.

    Now, at the end of this stage, the first two places in each group will be able to qualify directly for the 2026 World Cup. That is, there would already be four confirmed tickets. While the squads that finish in last place (5th) will be automatically eliminated.

    After that, a second phase will be played, in which that the third and fourth place in each group will play a final home run. That is to say, the third from Group A would face the fourth from Group B and vice versa, in back-and-forth matches. The winners of this bracket will get the last two direct spots, while the losers will have to fight to access the intercontinental repechage, also in round-trip matches.

    It should be noted that, during the development of this second stage, the four countries that qualified will also play a special home run, called 'Final Four', so as not to lose the rhythm of the competition and have activity on a par with their other South American contenders.

    Does Peru benefit from the change ?

    Only the fact that for the following Qualifiers the number of World Cup quotas for the Conmebol, this represents a great benefit, not only for Peru, but for all national teams in general.

    Although, of course, we must bear in mind that the 'Blanquirroja' has been the fifth selection from South America in the last two qualifiers. Following the same path would mean no longer playing a difficult playoff, in which it has become clear that there are as many chances of winning as losing.

    As for the first phase, the group phase, it cannot be discerned how beneficial it can be, at this time, for the national team. It happens that it has not yet been established or communicated how both groups of the contest would be managed, according to Movistar Deportes.

    In a hypothetical case that Peru gets Group A and Group B contains the four teams that are currently on top (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador), which they should face according to the possible format, without a doubt some would not suit the 'bicolor'. We would have to wait how that first stage is defined.

    How beneficial would the new qualifying format be for Peru? Playoffs?

    Peru was the fifth selection of Conmebol in the last two Qualifiers. Photo: Jesœs Saucedo/@photo.gec/

    Of course, the fact of placing third or fourth in the group that touches him would give him more chances to continue looking for a direct ticket to the 'Blanquirroja', regardless of the fact that there will already be four direct qualifiers from the Conmebol< /b> to the 2026 World Cup.

    In the final home run, the national team should minimally aspire to the playoffs. In fact, it would have to be the worst team in this second stage to not even have a ticket to the playoffs, so the chances of qualifying, at this point, are also high. And much better if it is directly.

    In the end, it will be much more feasible to analyze all the possible scenarios for our selection with the format already defined by Conmebol and with the distribution of groups used in the first phase, in case this proposal -revealed by Movistar Deportes- is the definitive one.