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How beneficial would the new Qualifying format be for Peru?

In the first place, 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 countrieswhich means an increase in quotas in each FIFA Confederation.

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

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

Conmebol is 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”, Belloso warned 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 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 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 the third and fourth places in each group will play a final homer. That is, the third from Group A would face the fourth from Group B and vice versa, in back and forth matches. The winners of this key will obtain the last two direct quotas, 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 playoffs increase the number of World Cup quotas for Conmebol, this represents a great benefit, not only for Peru, but for all 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. Continuing along 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 administered, 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.

That yes, the fact of being located in the third or fourth place of 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 classifieds of the Conmebol 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.

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

Source: Elcomercio

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