Jorge Barraza: 2022: The football we will have | Columnists | sports

World Cup, Playoffs, Champions, Liberators, the very relevant FIFA congress in Qatar at the end of March, the FIFA vs. UEFA / Conmebol… And in the

World Cup, Playoffs, Champions, Liberators, the very relevant FIFA congress in Qatar at the end of March, the FIFA vs. UEFA / Conmebol… And in the midst of all this, the pandemic starring in an unexpected starring role. 2022, which is barely a few hours old, promises exceptional upheaval. It is worth starting with the game, which must always be in front of everything.

The pluses and minuses of 2021

Bomba: The UEFA-Conmebol Nations League is born

* Intensity. It’s the buzzword in the universe of number five. First came the concepts of PRESSURE and POSSESSION, which arrived and were comfortably installed in the soccer hall so as not to leave anymore. In the meantime, other minor precepts were taking hold, such as high pressure, shrinking the field by defending and enlarging it by attacking, returning quickly by passing everyone behind the ball line to recover, attacking with the wings and a dozen of etceteras that the technicians implanted and were scattered across the world map. Today, the premise of every team is to have INTENSITY, that is, to press, mobilize, go up, go down, mark, uncover … All with the highest degree of energy and continuity that the physical and the mind allow. Maintain a high rhythm for the 97/98 minutes that the game lasts. That is, from a tactical point of view, what will be emphasized. And what we will see in this baby called 2022. “Being intense” is, beyond all the premises spoken and learned, the claim that coaches make to their footballers.

* World. For the first time in history you will be hosted by an Arab nation. Also as an initial version, it will be played at the end of the year and not in the middle (November 21 to December 18). And the setting will be the very brief Qatar, with a mere 11,586 km2. There has never been such a tiny host. You can go to up to three games in the same day given the proximity of the venues. Candidates …? The usual: Germany and Brazil. To whom must be added the current champion, France, which has a number of great players such as Lloris, Kanté, Mbappé, Koundé, Varane, Pavard, Kimpembé, to which Benzema now joins. Later, God will say … Maybe Spain and England, Belgium will join us. And we will see what Argentina can say, improved in relation to Russia 2018. Revelations…? United States and Denmark.

* Hex. Can South America regain the world title after twenty years…? It would be balsamic for our regional football. And not only that, it would act as a relaunch and an exceptional motivation, it would even raise the price of the cracks here. Tite’s Brazil is very powerful and difficult to beat; the most suitable for the feat. In Russia Belgium dispatched it, although without deserving it. This time the gaucho strategist and his garotos will try not to make a single mistake. The bad…? Neymar will be four and a half years older. The correct…? Raphinha, the Leeds left-hander, appeared to him, a brave letter with creativity and goal. And it has a rising star of gigantic dimensions: Vinicius.

* Drama. The one facing Italy and Portugal. One of the two – or both – will be left out of the party in Qatar. They must be eliminated in the European playoffs. Although they already know that it is something possible, it will be a knockout blow for whoever is eliminated. If it is Italy, it will add two World Cups in a row outside. Incredible. Above all, after winning the Euro Cup quite brilliantly. If it is Portugal, it will mark the final goodbye of Cristiano Ronaldo from the World Cups. Which of the two has better players to win the playoff …? Clearly, Portugal: Rui Patricio, Pepe, Nuno Mendes, Ruben Dias, João Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota, João Felix, Cristiano …

* Pulseda. On March 31, the 72nd FIFA congress will take place in Doha, Qatar, where Gianni Infantino will seek to reaffirm his intention to hold a World Cup every two years. This, in the middle of the extremely strained relationship FIFA-UEFA / Conmebol. The president of the house of Zurich must get approval (“We already have the votes,” he cackled), however, he is in a hurry because that biennial cycle would begin in 2028 and even the venue has not even been chosen. In November, a couple of days before the start of the World Cup, there would be another congress.

* Heaven or hell. Without a doubt, March 29 will be one of glory or drama in several countries of South America. That day the qualification to Qatar will end and there will surely be a stick fight until there. There are seven contenders fighting for two and a half spots. Colombia already discounted winning the three points against Venezuela that 29, but now Pekerman is in the Vinotinto and his performance will be optimized. A date full of curiosity for the love story that involved Pekerman with Colombia. Two will directly accompany Brazil and Argentina, another will have to wait until June to face the fifth from Asia (which may be Australia, be careful…!). It will be a Black Tuesday or a national holiday.

* Pandemic. In a year full of commitments, Covid could play a fundamental role in tournaments. Currently there are teams with ten or twelve infected. And the virus does not seem to be retiring at the end of November, when the World Cup begins. What if in the best of his performance one of the favorites must do without five of his figures …? It can alter the course of the competition. In Qatar, footballers will be isolated and cared for like astronauts. One contagion can lead to a dozen and wipes out the chances of any team.

* Lost. Norway was left out of the race and football will miss in the World Cup the aggressiveness and goals of Erling Haaland, one of the two current superstars along with Mbappé, who arrives at the best moment and dreams of giving a double. The question: Will Kylian go to Qatar as a Real Madrid player…? His departure or not from PSG will be one of the bombs of the year. Lewandowski will try to make Poland good in the European play-off. But be careful, Poland is not Bayern Munich and Lewa happens what happens to everyone: he is a fantastic killer, although if he is not well surrounded, his gunpowder gets wet. And it is very brave: first, Poland-Russia. If it happens, against Sweden or the Czech Republic. (OR)