Although there is still a date to complete these Qualifiers with Qatar 2022 in mind, and despite the fact that the playoff quota is still missing in which three nations such as Peru, Colombia and Chile are fighting, there is already talk of what the World Cup will be. 2026 in the United States, Canada and Mexico. An orbital event that will have a novel aspect in terms of the number of participating teams. This time there will not be 32 teams as usual, but 48 that will seek world glory.
Although it is positive because some teams that have never reached a World Cup event will have one more opportunity due to the expansion of quotas from each confederation, there has also been talk of how boring it will be to see non-traditional teams facing each other. Well, the essence of the World Cup would be lost with an inconspicuous game that is not of interest to football lovers despite being in a World Cup.
Another aspect will be the intensity that the tournament will have, not only because of the number of games, but because as there are three host countries, there will be many more trips and it will create much more wear and tear on the players and coaching staff. They are professionals, but first they are human beings and we have to ensure the health of each one of them in a month-long event.
Thus, although the present Qualifiers have not yet finished, there is already talk of the future in 2026. The ten captains of the Conmebol teams have held meetings to create a plan with the aim of finding solutions in the face of the wear and tear that the Current World Cup Qualifier game system.
According to Globoesporte, the talks are based on two points. The first is that by increasing the qualifiers, Conmebol will have six fixed places and a playoff quota, second, the reduction in the number of trips made by the players, since their clubs play more games every day in various competitions.
Thiago Silva commented, ‘it’s not just the 18 games, but the trips we make and we add many thousands more kilometers if we buy from the Europeans who play against each other. That is a very big wear, beyond the climate that is totally different from what we have in Europe at that time. If people could somehow find a balance with our travels, it would make our performance easier – It’s a real wear and tear, in my opinion, unnecessary’.
Like Thiago Silva, Marcelo Moreno Martins also referred, ‘there was already a meeting with FIFA and it seems that there will be a change in the format of the Qualifiers. FIFA is the one who decides and I think it’s good, because it will be interesting, since the players are not going to waste much time on trips with the national teams. They want to reduce the travel time of each one and that the player can spend more time with the national team to play more games in a row and not lose so much time between trips’.
Apparently the ten captains of the national teams of the South American confederation plan the return of the Group Qualifiers. A format with two groups of five teams is studied, the first three from each group qualify and the four classified would play a match to determine the one that would enter the playoff with another team from another continent.
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Conmebol captains ask for a new format in the 2026 Qualifiers