By Louis Smith.
288 days from the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup that saw Argentina crowned World Champions for a third time in Qatar, CONMEBOL Nations are set to do it all over again as the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers commence.
Argentina begin their World Cup defence at River Plate Estadio Monumental, before a trip to La Paz as they take on Bolivia in tricky conditions. They are unbeaten in their last ten matches since losing to Saudi Arabia on matchday one of the 2022 World Cup.
Lucas Beltrán and Walter Benítez could be in line for their debuts, along with Athletico Paranaense duo Lucas Esquivel and Bruno Zapelli.
Franco Armani is the only domestic-based player in the squad.
Emiliano Martínez, Franco Armani, Juan Musso, Walter Benítez
Nicolás Otamendi, Nicolás Tagliafico, Germán Pezzella, Nahuel Molina, Gonzalo Montiel, Cristian Romero, Juan Foyth, Lisandro Martínez, Facundo Medina, Marcos Senesi, Lucas Esquivel
Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodríguez, Exequiel Palacios, Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernández, Thiago Almada, Facundo Buonanotte, Bruno Zapelli
Lionel Messi (captain), Ángel Di María, Lautaro Martínez, Nicolás González, Ángel Correa, Julián Álvarez, Alejandro Garnacho, Lucas Beltrán, Alan Velasco
Gustavo Costas is the man tasked with trying to lead Bolivia to their first World Cup Finals since USA 1994. This is Costas’ first job in International management.
Efrain Morales, Bruno Poveda, José Briceño, José Alipaz, Fabricio Quaglio, Eduardo Álvarez, Andrés Moreno, Kevin Salvatierra, Mauricio Adorno, Jairo Velasco, Carlos Abastoflor, Yomar Rocha, Ervin Vaca, Javier Uzeda, Miguel Villarroel, Braulio Uraezaña, Denilson Durán, César Romero, Saúl Severiche, Carlos Sejas and Marco Salazar could earn their first cap.
Carlos Lampe, Guillermo Viscarra, Mauricio Adorno, Bruno Poveda, Braulio Uraezaña
José Sagredo, Diego Bejarano, Adrián Jusino, Roberto Fernández, Luis Haquin, Jairo Quinteros, Diego Medina, Carlos Roca, Marcelo Suárez, Héctor Cuéllar, Pablo Vaca, Eduardo Álvarez, Denilson Durán, Efrain Morales, Yomar Rocha, César Romero, Saúl Severiche, Jairo Velasco
Fernando Saucedo, Moisés Villarroel, Jaime Arrascaita, Boris Céspedes, Gabriel Villamil, Luciano Ursino, Carlos Abastoflor, Andrés Moreno, Marco Salazar, Kevin Salvatierra, Carlos Sejas, Ervin Vaca
Marcelo Martins (captain), Carmelo Algarañaz, Víctor Ábrego, Miguel Terceros, Jaume Cuéllar, José Martínez, Enzo Monteiro, Fernando Nava, José Alipaz, José Briceño, Fabricio Quaglio, Javier Uzeda, Miguel Villarroel
After a shootout heartbreak in Qatar in the Quarter-Finals, the wait for Brazil’s ‘Hexa’ goes on. Carlo Ancelotti will join up with Seleção in June 2024 and in the meantime, we will be treated to some organized chaos from Fluminense manager, Fernando Diniz, who takes interim charge.
Brazil open with a home fixture against Bolivia at the Mangueirão, a stadium they haven’t played at since 28 September 2011.
Diniz has called up four players who play in the Brasileirão, they include Lucas Perri, Nino, Raphael Veiga and André.
Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhães is expected to earn his first International Cap.
Alisson, Ederson, Lucas Perri
Marquinhos (vice-captain), Danilo, Renan Lodi, Roger Ibañez, Vanderson, Caio Henrique, Gabriel Magalhães, Nino
Casemiro (captain), Bruno Guimarães, Raphael Veiga, Joelinton, André
Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Raphinha, Rodrygo, Matheus Cunha, Gabriel Martinelli
Chile have a new leader in Eduardo Berizzo who will be hoping for a better time than he had with Paraguay during the previous qualifying campaign. Chile will also be eager to hit the ground running after missing out on a place in Qatar with a seventh-place finish, their second straight World Cup Finals qualification failure.
The experienced Claudio Bravo misses out due to injury.
Chile’s domestic-based players called up include; Cristóbal Campos, Lucas Assadi, Jeison Fuentealba, Alexander Aravena, Clemente Montes, César Pérez, Jonathan Villagra, Felipe Chamorro, Diego Carreño, Antonio Díaz, Moisés González, Alfred Canales, Julián Alfaro, Maximiliano Guerrero, Felipe Loyola, Brayan Cortés, Daniel Gutiérrez, Vicente Pizarro and Marcos Bolados.
Gabriel Arias, Brayan Cortés, Cristóbal Campos, Tomás Ahumada, Diego Carreño
Gary Medel, Guillermo Maripán, Gabriel Suazo, Juan Delgado, Benjamín Kuscevic, Nayel Mehssatou, Guillermo Soto, Matías Catalán, Antonio Díaz, Thomas Galdames, Moisés González, Daniel Gutiérrez, Felipe Loyola, Jonathan Villagra
Arturo Vidal, Charles Aránguiz, Erick Pulgar, Diego Valdés, Marcelino Núñez, Felipe Méndez, Williams Alarcón, Darío Osorio, Rodrigo Echeverría, Lucas Assadi, Alfred Canales, Felipe Chamorro, Jeison Fuentealba, César Pérez, Vicente Pizarro
Alexis Sánchez, Ben Brereton Díaz, Marcos Bolados, Alexander Aravena, Clemente Montes, Julián Alfaro, Maximiliano Guerrero
It was heartbreak for Colombia last time out, as they finished outside of the qualifying places and had to watch the World Cup from their TV screens.
Néstor Lorenzo is now the man in charge of Colombia and has enjoyed a decent start with six wins and two draws, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Germany away from home.
Despite being in charge for just over a year, Lorenzo will take charge of his first game in Colombia when they host Venezuela.
Three potential debuts include; Richard Ríos, Devis Vásquez and Jhon Córdoba, whilst Álvaro Montero is the only domestic-based player within the 26 man-squad.
Camilo Vargas, Álvaro Montero, Devis Vásquez
Davinson Sánchez, Santiago Arias, Yerry Mina, Johan Mojica, Daniel Muñoz, Jhon Lucumí, Carlos Cuesta, Deiver Machado
Juan Cuadrado, James Rodríguez, Wilmar Barrios, Mateus Uribe, Jefferson Lerma, Juan Fernando Quintero, Jorge Carrascal, Jhon Arias, Richard Ríos
Luis Díaz, Rafael Santos Borré, Luis Sinisterra, Jhon Durán, Mateo Cassierra, Jhon Córdoba
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was a great learning curve for a young talented Ecuadorian Squad who will be looking to kick on in the upcoming campaign.
The manager of the host nation at the previous World Cup, Félix Sánchez, has taken the reign at Ecuador and will be hoping to hit the ground running.
Moisés Caicedo will play for the national team since becoming the most expensive player in British football.
His former club, Independiente del Valle, have seen five of their players called up, including 16-year-old Kendry Páez.
Alexander Domínguez, Hernán Galíndez, Moisés Ramírez
Pervis Estupiñán, Robert Arboleda, Ángelo Preciado, Félix Torres, Willian Pacho, José Hurtado, Jhoanner Chávez, Leonardo Realpe, Joel Ordóñez
Ángel Mena, Carlos Gruezo, Gonzalo Plata, Moisés Caicedo, José Cifuentes, Jordy Alcívar, Joao Ortiz, Kendry Páez
Enner Valencia, Jhojan Julio, Kevin Rodríguez
Despite not qualifying for a World Cup since 2010, Paraguay is full of excitement for the upcoming qualification campaign, as their opening match against Peru at Estadio Antonio Aranda in Ciudad del Este is a sell-out.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto is the man at the helm of La Albirroja.
Mathías Espinoza and Carlos Coronel are potential debutants.
The domestic players include three from Club Olimpia; Juan Espínola, Mateo Gamarra and Richard Ortiz and three from Champions Club Libertad; Mathías Espinoza, Álvaro Campuzano, Iván Piris.
Julio Enciso misses out due to injury.
Santiago Rojas, Juan Espínola, Carlos Coronel
Gustavo Gómez (captain), Júnior Alonso, Iván Piris, Fabián Balbuena, Robert Rojas, Omar Alderete, Blas Riveros, Mateo Gamarra, Mathías Espinoza
Miguel Almirón, Richard Ortiz, Richard Sánchez, Mathías Villasanti, Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Matías Rojas, Andrés Cubas, Jesús Medina, Braian Ojeda, Diego Gómez, Álvaro Campuzano
Carlos González, Gabriel Ávalos, Robert Morales, Ramón Sosa
Peru made it through the gruelling South American Qualifiers, only to be denied a place in the World Cup Finals after losing to Australia on Penalties in the playoffs.
Juan Reynoso is the new manager tasked with guiding Peru to the 2026 World Cup. As a player, Reynoso netted five international goals and made 84 appearances.
Renato Solís, Jostin Alarcón, Jhamir D’Arrigo, and Joao Grimaldo are all domestic-based and will earn their first cap if they feature. In total, Peru’s squad features 11 players from Peru’s top flight.
Pedro Gallese, Carlos Cáceda, Renato Solís
Luis Advíncula, Miguel Trauco, Aldo Corzo, Alexander Callens, Luis Abram, Miguel Araujo, Marcos López, Carlos Ascues
Yoshimar Yotún, Renato Tapia, Christofer Gonzáles, Sergio Peña, Wilder Cartagena, Jesús Castillo, Piero Quispe
Paolo Guerrero (captain), André Carrillo, Raúl Ruidíaz, Andy Polo, Alex Valera, Jostin Alarcón, Jhamir D’Arrigo, Joao Grimaldo
Everyone’s eyes across the footballing world will be on Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay.
The bucket, the crazy attack-minded formation and Darwin Nunez add to an intriguing new era for La Celeste who are likely going to be far more entertaining than what they showed in Qatar, where they suffered a shock group stage exit.
There are no domestic-based players among Bielsa’s 25-man squad, as well as, no place for Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani as the Argentine looks to the new generation.
The only potential debutant is 21-year-old Cristian Olivera who has recently joined MLS side LAFC.
Goalkeeper: Sergio Rochet, Santiago Mele, Franco Israel
Defender: Matías Viña, Mathías Olivera, Joaquín Piquerez, Bruno Méndez, Sebastián Cáceres, Santiago Bueno, José Luis Rodríguez, Lucas Olaza
Midfielder: Federico Valverde, Nahitan Nández, Nicolás de la Cruz, Manuel Ugarte, Felipe Carballo, Maximiliano Araújo, Emiliano Martínez
Forward: Maxi Gómez, Brian Rodríguez, Darwin Núñez, Facundo Torres, Facundo Pellistri, Agustín Canobbio, Cristian Olivera
Venezuela will be hoping it’s 15th time lucky as their previous 14 campaigns have ended without qualification to football’s biggest stage, making them the only CONMEBOL side not to feature at a World Cup.
Despite plenty of promise last time around, Venezuela failed to live up to the billing and finished bottom with only ten points.
Their form this time around is almost perfect, they are unbeaten in seven, with five wins and two draws.
Fernando Batista is the man in charge of La Vinotinto after spending two years as an assistant.
Philadelphia Union’s Jesús Bueno could make his international debut. Domestic-based players include Alain Baroja and Alexander González both of whom ply their trade with capital club Caracas F.C.
Goalkeeper: Alain Baroja, Rafael Romo, Joel Graterol
Defender: Roberto Rosales, Alexander González, Jhon Chancellor, Mikel Villanueva, Wilker Ángel, Yordan Osorio, Luis Mago, Christian Makoun, Miguel Navarro, Jon Aramburu
Midfielder: Tomás Rincón (captain), Rómulo Otero, Darwin Machís, Júnior Moreno, Yeferson Soteldo, Jefferson Savarino, Yangel Herrera, José Martínez, Cristian Cásseres, Eduard Bello, Samuel Sosa, Jesús Bueno
Forward: Salomón Rondón, Josef Martínez, Sergio Córdova, Alejandro Marqués
Match One Fixtures
Paraguay vs. Peru | Kick-off — 23:30 (GMT) 07/09/2023
Colombia vs Venezuela| Kick-off — 00:00 (GMT) 08/09/2023
Argentina vs Ecuador | Kick-off — 01:00 (GMT) 08/09/2023
Uruguay vs Chile| Kick-off — 00:00 (GMT) 09/09/2023
Brazil vs. Bolivia | Kick-off — 01:45 (GMT) 09/09/2023
Match Two Fixtures
Bolivia vs Peru | Kick-off — 21:00 (GMT) 12/09/2023
Ecuador vs Uruguay| Kick-off — 22:00 (GMT) 12/09/2023
Venezuela vs. Paraguay | Kick-off — 23:00 (GMT) 12/09/2023
Chile vs Colombia | Kick-off — 01:30 (GMT) 13/09/2023
Peru vs Brazil | Kick-off — 03:00 (GMT) 13/09/2023