2026 Qualifiers: the end of the cycle of South American glories

The general word says that it is the most difficult World Cup qualifier. That distant Thursday, September 7, the South American qualifiers heading to the 2026 World Cupwhose great novelty is the increase in participants (to 48 casts), which brings with it an increase in the places available for Conmebol (six direct and one playoff). The process is covered with a special varnish.

Due to age issues, several of the soccer players who are part of the different teams will not make it to the event in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Or, otherwise, they will do it when they are older, at the end of their careers. Precisely, it is about a group of footballers who are the ones who drive their teams. These Qualifiers mean the end of the cycle of several South American glories. Some more in the media than others, but all with a particular meaning for their nation and whose end as internationals is closer.

The case of La Roja is obvious. Eduardo Berizzo’s Chilean team remains founded on the pillars of the Golden Generation. At 36 years old, Arturo vidal has continued to be the protagonist. He was the one who stood out in the bitter visit to the Centenario in Montevideo, entering in the second half and converting the injury time. After, He played injured against Colombia, left the Monumental in an ambulance and had to undergo surgery on his right knee. Although he did not go through his most virtuous time in Athletico Paranaense, the native of San Joaquín always wants to be there. With that goal against Uruguay, He is the first Chilean to convert in five different Qualifiers (2010, 2014, 2018, 2022 and 2026). He has 17 goals in Qualifiers.


Both the King and his companions Gary Medel (36) and Alexis Sánchez (34) They are going through their fifth World Cup qualifier. All three have equaled the mark of Claudio Bravo and Jean Beausejour, also with participation in five Qualifiers. If the 40-year-old goalkeeper, today injured, If he were to be considered by Toto again, he would establish a solo brand, with six Qualifiers in tow (he participated in the final part towards Germany 2006).

In the absence of the Betis goalkeeper, Pitbull acts as the captain. In recent statements to ESPN Brazil, the Vasco player assumed the option of no longer being considered. “Here I am prepared for everything that is coming, for a new call if there is one. And if not, continue supporting the National Team, because I am available for whatever,” declared.

With respect to Wonder child, who looked uncomfortable in the duels against Peru and Venezuela, is nothing less than the historic scorer of La Roja, with 51 goals, since his debut in 2006. Time passes and the Inter man continues to be the offensive beacon of the Team All.

Chile is not the only one that observes this phenomenon. Something similar happens in the rest of the continent. The world champion does not escape this. Despite the embedding of new names by Lionel Scaloni, Argentina It has in its titular structure three experienced players and with several battles in the back: Lionel Messi (36), Nicolás Otamendi (35) and Ángel Di María (35). La Pulga, the idol who became a legend in Qatar, surpassed his friend Luis Suárez as the all-time top scorer in the South American Qualifiers with 31 goals. In the first duels, they have dosed Messi. Against Bolivia, at the altitude of La Paz, he did not even go to the bench. While against Paraguay, he entered the second half. The Albiceleste does not have replacement problems.

James Rodriguez. PHOTO: AP

The Colombian National Team It still has vestiges of the outstanding generation that played in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups with José Pekerman. Of those banners, the one most considered by Néstor Lorenzo is James Rodríguez (32), who tries to revive his career in Sao Paulo. On the last payroll Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (35) and the historic Radamel Falcao García (37) were left out. today at Rayo Vallecano. In Uruguaythe presence or not of Luis Suárez (36), of great presence in Gremio, and of Edinson Cavani (36)runner-up of the Libertadores with Boca.

One of the longest in the process is Paolo Guerrero (39), the captain of Peru. Despite his age (he turns 40 on January 1), the striker continues to be the flag of the Inca team. Not for nothing He is the Bicolor’s historic scorer, with 39 goals. Without Gianluca Lapadula in the first duels, the presence of Guerrero, champion of the Copa Sudamericana with the Quito League, has become even more relevant. The player is one of the heavyweights of the Peruvian team, as well as Pedro Gallese (33), Luis Advíncula (33) and Yoshimar Yotún (33).

The examples follow. Bolivianow without Gustavo Costas on the bench, has two long-standing pillars: Marcelo Moreno Martins (36) and Carlos Lampe (36). Ecuador It has two majors in the areas: Alexander Domínguez (36) and Enner Valencia (34). In Venezuelawho aspires to reach the World Cup for the first time, remain in the Vinotinto Tomás Rincón (35) and Salomón Rondón (33). And in ParaguayChile’s next rival, was summoned Oscar ‘Tacuara’ Cardozo, 40 years old.

The post first appeared on www.latercera.com

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