The victory (1-0) of the National selection of football against Paraguay has opened wide the floodgates of illusion, that this time the 2026 World Cup is not a chimera and that Vinotinto will finally be able to take the leap in quality to be among the 42 teams that will attend the maximum Fifa quote.
It is true that the qualifying round is a long and steep road, which historically has been full of hills and thorns for Venezuela. But these first two dates, against Colombia in Barranquilla and the Guaraníes in Maturín, left the feeling that there is a united team, far from the internal fights with the leadership of the federation, the coaching staff or between the players themselves that undermined so much internally. the previous processes.
The first triumph of the coaching staff, led by the Argentine Fernando “Bocha” Batista and the FVF board, led by Jorge Giménez, is having healed the wounds of the past and giving the players the necessary tranquility to put their mind and energies into only in football, in going out to win each game, without having to worry about anything extra-sports.
In terms of football, Venezuela exhibited two very well-defined proposals. Away from home, “Bocha” put together a more reactive team, sheltered in its territory to leave few spaces for Colombia and force its best players, such as striker Lucho Díaz, to receive without room to maneuver or face with time and speed.
La Vinotinto put high pressure on the rival's exit at specific moments, when the ball was at the goalkeeper's feet to force him to shoot long and cause a mistake. And in defensive transitions, he maintained a middle block with short lines, inviting Colombia to play on the wings, where a staggered defense surrounded the player who received the ball.
Although they lost 1-0 in Barranquilla, Colombia did not exercise overwhelming superiority. In fact, the best scoring chances in the first half were from Venezuela, and the neighbors' goal came from the execution of an effective blackboard play that dislocated the national defense.
The other side of the coin was shown by Venezuela against Paraguay. “Bocha” changed the system. They opted for a more play-generating midfield with Yeferson Soteldo and Samuel Sosa unbalancing on the wings, and Josef Martínez and Salomón Rondón in the attacking front. The best thing about this victory and what can define the team in this long eliminatory route was the poise and character to seek victory until the last play.
He never gave up even when the Colombian referee Andrés Rojas disallowed a goal from Yangel Herrera, for the second consecutive qualifying match against the same Paraguayan team, due to a VAR handball. Hence the victory in the 92nd minute, through the penalty taken by Salomón Rondón, after the handball committed by a Guaraní defender, confirmed the emotional and mental maturity of the team.
There is still room for improvement for the national team's football. Bocha must consolidate those small partnerships between midfielders, forwards and full-backs who join the attack. Venezuela must take better care of the ball, when it recovers in the middle, without rushing to make long passes and counterattack, a weapon widely used against Colombia.
The “Brujo” Martínez offers lungs, a route to support the coverage and a firm leg when it comes to taking off, but his first pass to start the transitions must be cleaner. It is true that the Vinotinto returned to victory and taught that with order, daring and Courage can fight every game.
Wilker, Osorio and Romo won the aerial battle against the Guarani
The dark clouds that always accompany the Venezuelan defense cleared on the field and showed an unusual luminosity. The centre-back pairing of Wilker Osorio and Yordan Osorio was almost flawless. They only suffered in the collective error of the Vinotinto committed against Colombia, in which the midfielders, Yangel Herrera and Tomás Rincón, arrived late to pressure Jhon Arias who put a beautiful cross into the head of Santos Borré to score the goal.
Against Paraguay they exhibited great firmness high and low to reduce attacks to zero. The Guaraní team had traditionally dominated Venezuela with constant aerial bombardment to search for its effective headers. But on this occasion they encountered the precise exits of goalkeeper Rafa Romo who safely saved each cross into his six-yard box, and the clearances of Osorio and Wilker, fierce beasts to win each duel in heaven. Games are won from defense and Venezuela demonstrated it with an impregnable lock in Maturín.
Alexander left his mark on the right wing with a great display
If any player stood out greatly in these first two dates of the Vinotinto it was none other than the right back Alexander González of Caracas FC, to the point that he was included in the ideal eleven of Conmebol, surpassing the Brazilian Danilo (Juventus) and the Argentine Nahuel Molina (Atlético de Madrid).
Alexander's work was superlative. He literally wiped out Liverpool's highly valued Colombian striker, Lucho Díaz, and also took down the Paraguayan Ramón Sosa. But his contribution was not reduced to defense. He also projected himself with judgment, gave depth to the Vinotinto attack and with his crosses generated goal situations. If he can sustain this performance throughout the tie, the right wing will no longer have any discussion or owner other than Alexander himself. On the left wing, Miguel Navarro also achieved high marks against Paraguay and earned the position.