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Vader, Tuesday at 07:44 in International Competitions
Starts in March
Given a bit of a rough start. We are basically obligated to win away to Paraguay. I'm confident we'll do it and get at least a point against Brazil or Argentina at home.
I reckon Ecuador, Bolivia or Chile are the favourites to finish bottom.
Ecuador hire Jordi Cruyff as their manager. Interesting...
Ecuador also unveil their new logo. Has some serious Cape Town City FC vibes to it
A write up on the upcoming qualifiers... of course, much can change over the course of two years so everything I say applies at the time of writing.
Peru - We've been excellent in the last few years but with Guerrero and Farfan winding down, we might struggle a bit. I still think we will qualify for the World Cup, or at least finish 5th or 6th and fight a spot the entire campaign. My main hope is that we don't stagnate with the same players and a few new ones can get geled in.
Key player: Luis Abram - The key to Peru's World Cup qualification last time was Alberto Rodriguez being excellent at the back against top class opposition. He's not gonna be available this time and Luis Abram will have to take the candle. He's now the highest valued Peruvian player and has shown a lot so far for the national team. He's an undisputed starter.
Ecuador - Not the worst South American squad on paper but on the pitch they are horrendous. They also have the worst form of any South American side since 2016. I don't only think they will miss out, but will finish bottom. They do have good young players on the way but they are still too inexperienced to make an immediate impact. They will need to make a smooth transition to their next generation.
Prediction: misses out
Key player: Enner Valencia - Enner is not the same player he once was, but his experience will help Ecuador grind out some games to lead the young talented players. He'll have to show a great example here.
Bolivia - Bolivia is Bolivia and will finish near the bottom like they always do. Their best player Marcelo Moreno is starting to get on, and the only other player they have who can make an impact at this level is Alejandro Chumacero. Still, playing in La Paz is never easy and they'll get a few wins at home.
Key player: Marcelo Moreno Martins - To put it simply, I don't know what Bolivia will do once he retires.
Argentina - They will qualify but they will struggle again. They won't coast these qualifiers and will come agonizingly close to missing out like in 2018 and 2010. They don't have the best possible manager and their squad is one of the worst Argentina have had in years. Still, it's better than most South American nations even then and they have enough to grind out a couple games.
Key player: Lautaro Martinez - Messi is the easy answer usually, and while he'll still be very important, I think Lautaro has a point to prove to the country and he's getting better every year.
Brazil - They will qualify as they always do. They simply have too much talent and a fortress of a home field for any South American team to handle. They might not finish 1st this time, but they will qualify comfortably.
Key player: Neymar - Still one of the best players in the world and nobody else in Brazil needs to prove anything unlike Argentina. So I'm going with him.
Paraguay - They will fight for 5th place with Argentina and Peru. They don't play the prettiest football but they know how to get the job done. They have good young players and also experienced veterans who can help add a good balance. I think they miss out barely, but they won't do terribly.
Key player: Miguel Almiron - He has never been good in a Paraguay shirt, but he's improving consistently with Newcastle and now has a point to prove. He'll have to lead the line for the Albiroja.
Colombia - Carlos Quieroz has been criticized by Colombians, but they do play incredible football on their day and know how to keep a clean sheet. Colombia also has buckets of talent and has a very deep squad. They will qualify and I will even say they will do it comfortably.
Key player: James Rodriguez - He's kinda gone off the pace at club level, but this past Copa America he has shown he is still a world class player and he can win Colombia games on his own.
Uruguay - Uruguay always does just enough to qualify, and I can't see that being any difference. They have a much better midfield than previous years and still a solid defence. Their forward line is arguably their weakest position now with Suarez being much worse these days, but it's silly to say it's a weak attacking line because Cavani and Suarez still hold up well in Europe's top clubs. Just not as powerful as they used to be. Uruguay will qualify.
Key players: Edinson Cavani - For years, Cavani has been overshadowed by his partner Luis Suarez, but in recent times Cavani has improved and Suarez has declined. Both will make up a lethal partnership, but Cavani will be the better player.
Venezuela - They will fight but I don't think it will be a serious challenge compared to Peru, Paraguay and Argentina. Their talent still has too little experience and although they do have some very good veterans like Rondon, it just was never enough to single handedly take Venezuela to a World Cup. Still, they are no mugs and will be tough to play against.
Key players: Yeferson Soteldo - Had a good season at Santos and is a big talent from Venezuela. He wants to test himself at a higher standard and see if he has the talent to go to Europe.
Chile - There is nothing going for them unfortunately. Their top players are finished with the exception of Vidal and the dressing room of the main core is toxic. They do have some good young players like Sebastian Vegas and Pulgar but it's nothing that will ultimately save them. I predict they will finish near the bottom.
Key players: Charles Aranguiz - Since he's not really declined and not in any conflicts with the squad (as far as we know), he will continue his good performances from the Copa America and carry them over here.
@Stan @RandoEFC @Berserker @El Profesor @Dr. Gonzo @Cicero @Spike @Mel81x @Storts @Azeem
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