Category Archives: 2022 FIFA World Cup

BUILD-UP: World Cup qualifying in South America

Lionel Messi of Argentina look on

  • All ten CONMEBOL teams are in Qatar 2022 qualifying action today
  • FIFA.com has all the build-up to the games
  • We will post live updates throughout them

Today’s fixtures

Ecuador-Colombia
Venezuela-Chile
Uruguay-Brazil
Paraguay-Bolivia
Peru-Argentina

Scroll down to read trivia, stats, quotes and more about each game.

Leading scorers in CONMEBOL qualifying for Qatar 2022

Ecuador-Colombia

World Cup qualifying head-to-head record:
8 Colombia wins; 6 draws; 4 Ecuador wins

Did you know?

  • Colombia have kept 11 clean sheets from their last 14 meetings with Ecuador in World Cup qualifying.
  • Last month, in a 4-2 victory over Uruguay, at the age of 18 years and 347 days, Moises Caicedo became the first player born in the 21st century to score in World Cup qualifying. It made the midfielder the fifth-youngest player in history to score in the South American qualifiers and the youngest Ecuadorian, breaking Antonio Valencia’s record.
  • James Rodriguez is set to become the ninth Colombia to reach 80 caps.
  • Colombia have won their last four meetings with Ecuador in all matches.

Quotes

Gustavo Alfaro: “We have the vision of putting on a great performance and finishing this year, which has been very difficult for everybody, in the best way possible. We want to win this game and, more than anything, qualify for the World Cup.”

Carlos Queiroz: “We know what difficult rivals Ecuador are. They have been playing well, scoring goals. We respect them a lot. But we are ready to get back to business: to fight, to play well, to win. Defeat makes us stronger.”

Leading all-time scorers in CONMEBOL qualifying

Venezuela-Chile

World Cup qualifying head-to-head record:
11 Chile wins; 2 draws; 1 Venezuela win

Did you know?

  • Chile’s biggest-ever win in World Cup qualifying came against Venezuela: 6-0 in 1997. Ivan Zamorano scored five, including two trademark headers and two volleys.
  • Twenty-five caps is what Wuilker Farinez has at the age of just 22 – an incredibly rare occurrence for a goalkeeper. He stands at just 1.75m tall – again very unusual for a player of his position – and became the first goalkeeper to score at a FIFA U-20 World Cup™ at Korea Republic 2017.
  • Arturo Vidal’s double in Peru made Chile the first nation to have four players reach 15 goals in South American qualifying for the World Cup. Marcelo Salas (18), Ivan Zamorano (17) and Alexis Sanchez (16) have all reached the figure. Uruguay boast three: Luis Suarez (25), Edinson Cavani (17) and Diego Forlan (15).
  • Venezuela reached their highest-ever position on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – 25th – in November 2019. They are currently 28th, above the likes of African champions Algeria, Serbia, Russia and regional rivals Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia.
  • Venezuela are the only South American nation to have never reached the World Cup.

Quotes

Alain Baroja: “The mood, despite the results, is better. We would have liked another result against Brazil, but the team looked much better on the pitch, much more compact, and that was our main idea. Now we must go for the victory against Chile.”

Arturo Vidal: “Every national team you face in South America is difficult. We have to play every game at 100 per cent. The most important thing is the national team and fighting to make sure we are at the next World Cup.”

Rolf Feltscher to FIFA.com: “Imagining myself helping Venezuela qualify for their first World Cup gives me goosebumps. I couldn’t put a price on that. It would be the ultimate.”

Uruguay-Brazil

World Cup qualifying head-to-head record:

5 draws; 4 Brazil wins; 1 Uruguay win

Did you know?

  • Brazil are unbeaten in World Cup qualifying since Tite took charge in 2016, winning 13 and drawing two of 15 games, scoring 40 goals and conceding just five in the process.
  • Oscar Tabarez has never tasted victory against Brazil since taking the Uruguay reins, losing six and drawing two.
  • Thiago Silva is set to make his 93rd international appearance and tie Gilberto Silva as Brazil’s 12th most-capped player.
  • Edinson Cavani has scored in each of his last three competitive appearances against Brazil.
  • Brazil have scored four goals on each of their last two trips to Uruguay in World Cup qualifying, with Kaka inspiring a 4-0 win in 2009 and Paulinho hitting a hat-trick in a 4-1 triumph in 2017.

Tite has confirmed that Brazil will line up as follows, provided Allan is fit to start: Ederson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Renan Lodi; Allan (Arthur), Douglas Luiz, Everton Ribeiro; Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Richarlison.

Quotes

Renan Lodi to FIFA.com: “I’m almost another striker! (laughs) I have more freedom to attack with the Seleção. It’s not like this at my club. I really enjoy it.”

Oscar Tabarez on Neymar’s absence: “I don’t know if it will be an advantage for us, but for me personally it’s a relief. But we’ll still face the best team in these qualifiers, and the last ones, and several others. We’ll try and limit our opponents output and then try and create problems for them.”

Firmino to FIFA.com on how much he wants to win Qatar 2022: “So, so, so, so much. Much more than you can imagine. I’ve won the Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Premier League. [The World Cup] is what’s missing for me.”

“It’s my trademark! Of course I’ve imagined doing the pigeon dance in the World Cup. The supporters really like it, it especially appeals to kids. I’ve done it for the Seleção together with Neymar, I do it for my club, and I want to score goals and do it many times at the 2022 World Cup.”

Richarlison to FIFA.com

World Cup participations

Paraguay-Bolivia

World Cup qualifying head-to-head record:
10 Paraguay wins; 5 Bolivia wins; 3 draws

Did you know?

  • Paraguay have won all nine of their World Cup qualifiers at home to Bolivia, scoring 27 goals and conceding just four.
  • Marcelo Martins’ goal against Ecuador saw him become Bolivia’s joint-leading all-time marksman alongside Joaquin Botero (20 goals apiece).
  • No player in Paraguay’s squad has more than five international goals to his name.
  • Juan Carlos Arce netted his 12th international goal last time out. The 35-year-old requires one more to go joint-seventh on Bolivia’s all-time leading marksmen alongside two national legends: Maximo Alcocer and Marco Etcheverry.

Quotes

Antony Silva to FIFA.com: “Bolivia are having a tough time right now, so it’s imperative we get three points in Paraguay, especially having already dropped points at home to Peru. The responsibility will be ours, but we’ve shown already that we’re able to assume it.”

Marcelo Martins: “It’s a joy to be my country’s all-time leading goalscorer. It’s a really beautiful thing for a Bolivian player, and I want to keep scoring goals to help the national team. I think we lacked a little bit of luck against Argentina and Ecuador – games we could have won – and I hope we can get the victory against Paraguay.”

Peru-Argentina

World Cup qualifying head-to-head record:
9 Argentina wins; 7 draws; 2 Peru wins

Did you know?

  • Lionel Messi is set to make his 142nd Argentina appearance and equal Cafu as South America’s fifth most-capped international behind Javier Zanetti (143), Javier Mascherano (147), Paulo da Silva (148) and Ivan Hurtado (168).
  • Peru have faced Lionel Messi five times in World Cup qualifying and, surprisingly, prevented him scoring on every occasion.
  • Gianluca Lapadula, who scored a hat-trick on his solitary outing for Italy B and was a non-playing member of the Azzurri squad for a Russia 2018 qualifier, made his Peru debut against Chile, becoming the first Italy-born player to appear in South American qualifying.
  • No South American side has qualified for the World Cup having collected less than two points from their first three games. Can Peru become the first?
  • Argentina have not lost any match away to Peru in 35 years. Juan Carlos Oblitas secured La Blanquirroja a defeat of La Albiceleste in a Mexico 1986 preliminary. It left Peru requiring victory in Buenos Aires to reach their fourth World Cup in five attempts, and they were nine minutes away from getting it until Ricardo Gareca bundled home an equaliser to snatch Argentina a ticket to the finals. ‘El Tigre’ was duly left out of the Argentinians’ squad, and they went on to become champions at the Azteca.

Quotes

Ricardo Gareca: “We are not used to giving special marking to individuals, but we do pay attention to our opponents’ strengths. That said, Argentina are much more than just Messi. We’re in a tricky position. If we don’t get three points it will make things more difficult, but it won’t rule us out from qualifying.”

Rodrigo De Paul on Lionel Messi to FIFA.com: “When you start sharing things with him, he is so transparent that, instead of telling him what you think of him, you feel more like asking him about his little kids or of reminding him of the time he took you out with his studs up in a Valencia-Barcelona game (laughs). When he becomes your captain, you’d go to war for him if he asked you to.”

Renato Tapia to FIFA.com: “I know we’re going to qualify, I’m absolutely certain. I say that from the heart, just as I said it after the opening game of the previous qualifiers.”

Lionel Scaloni on Nico Gonzalez’s performance against Paraguay: “We had no doubts about what Nico could bring to the team, and he played a good game. He’s in good form. He linked up well with Lo Celso the other day.”

Franco Armani: “Peru are a great team with good players. It will be difficult as they’re coming off a loss. They’re patient and then try and hit you on the counter-attack at extreme pace.”

Social media

FIFA.com
FIFA.com News

Renan Lodi: I'm almost another striker for Brazil

Renan Lodi during a Brazil training session

  • Renan Lodi discusses Brazil’s Qatar 2022 qualifying showdown with Uruguay
  • He recalls seeing his dad cry after the Seleção’s South Africa 2010 exit
  • The 22-year-old hails Atletico Madrid team-mates Luis Suarez & Joao Felix

“He was Brazil’s biggest danger,” wrote Marca after the 1-0 victory over Venezuela on Friday. “The three chances the Seleção created in the first half all came from his feet.”

Yet this wasn’t, despite the Spanish sportspaper jestingly referring to him as a “striker”, an attacker they were raving about but a left-back. Renan Lodi was, indeed, the principal invention infuser in the vacuum created by Neymar’s absence and was named man of the match by several publications – something which would have sounded preposterous 18 months ago.

The Serrana native had never been capped by his country at any level and was at Atletico Paranaense. He’s since moved to Atletico Madrid, established himself as Brazil’s first-choice left-back, been called “a phenomenon” by Filipe Luis, “a wonderful talent” by the legendary Junior and “a player who has it all” by Diego Simeone.

FIFA.com caught up with Renan Lodi, 22, to discuss the skyrocketing of his career, Brazil’s showdown with Uruguay in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying, Luis Saurez, Joao Felix and whether Atletico Madrid can win La Liga this season, and the world’s best left-backs.

FIFA.com: Most of the Brazil players represented the country at youth level, but you didn’t. How did it feel to suddenly be in the senior squad as a 21-year-old year last year?

Renan Lodi: I played for Atletico Paranaense at every youth level. I was always dreaming of being called up by the Seleção – at U-15, U-17, U-20 and senior level. Every time there were Seleção call-ups at youth level, I’d get my hopes up and be really sad when I wasn’t called up. But I always maintained my focus on turning professional with Atletico Paranaense and, if God wanted, reaching the senior Seleção. I’m enjoying it as much as possible, and I want to play as well as possible for my club to keep getting called here.

Thirteen months ago you’d never even been in a Brazil squad. Now you’re the first-choice left-back. How does that feel?

It’s a feeling of immense pride. You think about how many players who have dreamed of this – footballers and people who do other things. I love wearing the Brazil shirt. I’m learning as much as I can from every player, from every coach. I’m very proud to be here and I’m loving every second of it.

You have provided three assists in six Brazil appearances. Does Tite encourage you to get forward?

I’m almost another striker! (laughs) I have more freedom to attack with the Seleção. It’s not like this at my club. I really enjoy it. But with Tite, he asks me to get forward, yes, but to also always maintain my defensive responsibilities.

How pleased are you with Brazil’s start to Qatar 2022 qualifying?

We’re really happy. The atmosphere in the squad is amazing. You couldn’t say one little thing negative about it – all the players want to help each other. We’re very pleased with the first three results. Nine points, the maximum. But we have a big game against Uruguay and we want to get more. We want to put in good performances and keep picking up points.

What do you think of this Uruguay team?

They’re really well organised. They’re very tough to break down. They give their everything from the first minute to the last, which always makes it very intense and fast-paced. They have magnificent players. Suarez is out with COVID and that’s a huge blow to them, but they have other great attacking players. It will be a very tough test for us, but we’re confident, well prepared, and we’ll give our all to try and get the points.

Had you discussed the game with Suarez?

We joked about it at Atletico. He wound me up, I wound him up. He said he going to mark me, stop me, that they would win. I said things back to him. All good fun.

What’s the World Cup memory that most sticks in your head from growing up?

2010. I will never forget that. We were watching it at home. We were beating Holland but we ended up getting eliminated. My dad started crying. It was really difficult for me to see that. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

Which left-backs have you most enjoyed watching?

Roberto Carlos was a great player, but I didn’t see too much of him because I’m young. I really like Filipe Luis, Alex Sandro, who I watch a lot – the way he defends, the way he reads the game. Marcelo too.

Who do you rate as the world’s best left-back now?

[Andy] Robertson of Liverpool and Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich are outstanding players. Davies is even younger than me, and Robertson is still young. They’re great players and have so much potential.

Can Atletico Madrid win La Liga this season?

Yes. Things are going really well, we’ve got a very strong squad. La Liga’s a really difficult league to win. The table is really messy, the favourites have dropped points. We’re third, we’ve got two games in hand on the teams above us, and we’re working very hard to have a great campaign.

What do you think of Suarez?

He’s a real joker, a lot of fun. He also does his utmost to help everybody day-by-day. I try to learn the maximum possible from the time I spend with him, because there are no words to describe him. He’s strong, very talented, finishes with both feet. He’s a magnificent player and a huge asset for our club.

And what about Joao Felix?

He’s my brother at the club. We’re almost the same age. We get along really well. He’s an incredibly talented player, but he’s always trying to learn and improve also. I have no doubt that he will become one of the best players in the world.

FIFA.com
FIFA.com News

Uruguay-Brazil tops bill as trio eye first win

Lucas Torreira of Uruguay gets past Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira of Brazil - Brazil v Uruguay - International Friendly

  • All ten teams will be in action in South American qualifying on Tuesday
  • Uruguay-Brazil and Peru-Argentina take centre stage
  • Ecuador and Colombia clash following contrasting results

Uruguay-Brazil is the main attraction on MatchDay 4 of South American qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, which will also see three countries aiming for their first wins of this campaign. FIFA.com previews all of Tuesday’s action.

Matchday 4 schedule (all times local)

17 November

Ecuador–Colombia (16:00)

Venezuela–Chile (17:00)

Uruguay–Brazil (20:00)

Paraguay–Bolivia (20:00)

Peru–Argentina (19:30)

Standings

The big match

Uruguay–Brazil, Estadio Centenario (Montevideo)

Uruguay’s emphatic win last Friday in Colombia was the perfect tonic ahead of their clash with pacesetters Brazil. That said, A Seleção are something of a bogey side for Celeste coach Oscar Tabarez, who has yet to taste victory against them in eight official meetings (two draws and six losses).

Luis Suarez, who leads the scoring chart in South America, has been ruled out due to COVID-19, so much onus will fall on Edinson Cavani for goals. Neymar’s absence will be no less of a concern for Tite, especially after his side’s lacklustre triumph over Venezuela. Still, with Firmino, Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus, he has ample strike options for a match that looks set to be fiercely fought and low on scoring chances.

The stat: On their last two visits to Montevideo, Brazil prevailed 4-1 and 4-0 and have now gone six games unbeaten against Uruguay in World Cup qualifying. La Celeste’s sole qualifying win came in 2001 with a 1-0 triumph at the Centenario.

Colombia v Ecuador - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

Elsewhere

In confident mood after back-to-back victories, Ecuador welcome a Colombia without a win in two, including their worst home defeat in World Cup qualifying. Both sides have key players suspended, with the hosts missing Carlos Gruezo due to an accumulation of yellow cards, and the visitors without Yerry Mina following his red card against Uruguay. Los Cafeteros, who will also be without the injured Radamel Falcao, have won their last three qualifiers against La Tri, most recently in Quito in 2017.

In Caracas, a struggling Venezuela with little margin for error host a Chile side buoyed by their first win of the campaign on Friday. La Vinotinto gave an improved performance last time out in Brazil but are still in search of their first points. La Roja welcome Alexis Sanchez back to the starting XI as they look to continue their unbeaten run in Venezuela. In all, Chile have managed six wins and one draw (June 1996) while playing there in this competition.

The mood in the Paraguay camp will be in marked contrast to that of opponents Bolivia, the other CONMEBOL side still without a point. After an unbeaten start, Eduardo Berizzo is expected to make several changes, one of which is enforced due to Miguel Almiron’s suspension, as he seeks to keep Los Albirrojos in the top half of the table. If Cesar Farias’ charges are to prevail, then they will need an unprecedented away win, having lost all nine of their qualifying fixtures in Asuncion.

In Lima, Peru go in search of their first win of the campaign against Argentina, the third undefeated side. Gianluca Lapadula, who made his debut against Chile, looks a possible starter for the hosts, who have not beaten La Albiceleste at home for 35 years. Since that 1-0 triumph in 1985, the visitors have managed three wins and four draws, including stalemates in the last three games. Argentina midfielder Giovani Lo Celso looks set to be handed his first start of the campaign.

Argentina v Peru - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

Player to watch

Yeferson Soteldo (Venezuela)

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder will need all his skill and audacity to help his side turn things around in these qualifiers. “We’re at home and so have to go for the win come what may, while staying very disciplined at the back,” he said ahead of the Chile clash.

Did you know?

Peru is one of the two South American countries that Lionel Messi is yet to score against in World Cup qualifying (the other is Brazil). The Argentinian has faced La Blanquirroja five times in this competition, enjoying two wins and three draws (two of which came in Lima). His solitary strike against Peru came at the 2007 Copa America.

On social media

FIFA.com
FIFA.com News

Da Fonseca: Messi represents everything children dream of becoming

Omar Da Fonseca, consultant for beIN SPORTS

  • Omar Da Fonseca was a professional player between 1979 and 1993
  • Now working as a pundit on French TV
  • A big fan of his compatriots Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi

Omar Da Fonseca has always loved football. From his childhood in Buenos Aires to his professional playing days and his current job as a pundit on French TV, his passion for the game has shone through. Quite simply, he lives and breathes it.

When he chatted to us about the South American qualifying competition for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the Argentinian could not resist waxing lyrical, telling anecdotes and stories aplenty about the sport closest to his heart.

Now 62, Da Fonseca is one of France’s most loved football pundits. For the last 25 years, he has brought La Liga and South American football vividly to life for fans across the country, so much so that if he sees something remarkable on the field of play, he thinks nothing of yelling out loud or breaking into song or laughter. When he is at the microphone, anything can happen.

“Some pundits play it safe because they’ve got ambitions for the future,” Da Fonseca, who currently works for beIN SPORTS, told FIFA.com. “Me, I just try to have an identity, to have fun. I’ve got all these cards on which I’ve written sentences, proverbs, oxymorons, and figures of speech. There are also things that just come out of the blue, when the adrenaline is pumping and emotions are running high. I try to be in tune with what I see.”

Admiration for two of the best

No player excites Da Fonseca more than his fellow countryman Lionel Messi, whom he admires greatly. “He represents everything that children dream of becoming, especially in Argentina,” he said. “He’s the first player for whom it’s not all about the result.”

In Da Fonseca’s eyes, the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2019 is a phenomenon that defies description. “Statistics are all the rage these days: the number of kilometres, the number of duels won. He doesn’t always run, though, and when he’s not running he’s thinking. To my mind, it’s better to think than to run around.”

Earlier in his life, there was another Argentinian player Da Fonseca admired: Diego Maradona. He rubbed shoulders with the great No. 10 during his brief international career, which began when Cesar Luis Menotti called him up in the late 1970s.

“There was Maradona and the likes of [Gabriel] Calderon and Ramon Diaz. The first time I saw Diego it was crazy. We knew him as the ‘untouchable guy’. That was the paradoxical thing about Maradona, because he was also a kid from the streets. He was resourceful and had every trick in the book but there was something endearing about him too when he cried.” Da Fonseca’s love for the legendary Argentinian playmaker has stayed true ever since.

In 1984, Maradona signed for Napoli. Two years later, Da Fonseca joined Monaco. “Luckily, we often played on Saturdays in France,” said the TV pundit. “Whenever he was in the north of Italy, I’d get in my car on a Sunday and go and see him play; it didn’t matter that we’d been called up together or that we played against each other too. It just goes to show how much he blew everyone away, how much he excited us.”

Omar Da Fonseca with fans

Three to watch out for

Da Fonseca is also getting excited at the prospect of Matchday 4 of the South American qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. In his eyes there are three teams that stand apart:

“Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are stronger than the others because of the players they have. Then there’s Colombia, with [Duvan] Zapata and [Luis] Muriel, two hungry players who combine well and work well. [James] Rodriguez is in form too and [Juan] Cuadrado is still producing. After them, you’ve got Chile, who are starting to age a little, and then Peru and Paraguay. Look out for Ecuador too. They’ve made a really good start.”

He also believes there might be a surprise or two in store, especially in these days of empty stadiums: “South American fans really get behind their teams and cheer them on. They push the players on and create a hostile atmosphere. So things obviously change when there are no fans in the stadium. I don’t see everything being turned on its head though.”

Did you know?

  • Omar Da Fonseca spent his entire playing career in two leagues: Argentina’s Primera Division with Club Atletico Belgrano and Velez Sarsfield; and France’s Ligue 1 with Tours, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Toulouse and Paris FC.
  • He won the French title twice: first with PSG in 1986 and then with Monaco in 1988.
  • He went one to become a players’ agent and then head of recruitment at Saint-Etienne between 2005 and 2008. He also completed his first coaching badge, “but it didn’t inspire or motivate me – I didn’t see it as a way for me to flourish”.
  • In September this year, he published his autobiography Gracias a la Vida (‘Thank You, Life’), in which he talks about his good fortune in having the career he has had and leading a privileged life.

beIN SPORTS broadcasts CONMEBOL qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Australia, New Zealand, France, the Middle East and North Africa.

FIFA.com
FIFA.com News