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A foreign party that can be your own in the 2026 World Cup

Enjoy a new installment of Game Vision by Gerardo Blanco

Venezuela has never qualified for a Soccer World Cup for absolute FIFA teams, but this has not prevented this event from paralyzing the country and monopolizing the attention for thirty days of competition. The World Cup has always been an alien party that is lived with an overflowing passion, waiting for the Vinotinto to occupy a place among the nations that attend the greatest football event.

The effect of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, the first to be broadcast live to Venezuela and which caused the astonishment of the Brazilian team on the planet, with King Pelé, Tostao, Rivelino, Gerson, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho orchestrating football The most refined and aesthetic choir in the history of these championships, made the country also hypnotized by the spell of the “jogo bonito” and the magic of the first absolute 10 in soccer.

Given the repeated failure of the Vinotinto, in Venezuela there was a loss in the fondness of the fans. A vast majority of Venezuelans adopted Brazil as their national team and it was common to see people dressed in the yellow-green jersey, and noisy caravans going through the streets of Caracas and other cities to celebrate Brazil's World Cup triumphs as if they were their own.

The apotheosis of this so-called “pastelierismo” was experienced in the now distant qualifier for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when Brazil appeared at the Brígido Iriarte stadium to face Venezuela and the El Paraíso stadium looked like the Maracana. Thousands of Venezuelans wearing yellow-green shirts filled the stadium and every play by Romario, Careca, Dunga and Bebeto from Canarias was celebrated with applause and shouts of approval, while César Baena, Nelson Carrero, Bernardo Añor and Carlos Maldonado's Vinotinto practically played as a visitor in your own home.

But the Vinotinto boom that emerged in 2001 under the leadership of Richard Páez, produced a change of mentality among the new soccer fans. The four consecutive victories of the team in the qualifiers against Korea and Japan in 2002, plus the daring style of ball control, touch at ground level and filtered passes to break the defenses practiced by Richard Páez's Vinotinto, produced a crush and definitively rooted the national team in the soul of Venezuelans.

For this reason, since 2001 the World Cups in Venezuela are seen with different eyes. The victories of like-minded countries continue to be celebrated, but now what is wanted is for Vinotinto to reach that stage and we can be 30 million Venezuelans united by the same soccer passion. Thanks to the victories of Vinotinto de Páez, which later extended to the selection of César Farías and his fourth place in the 2011 Copa América in Argentina, there is a national awareness that soccer is more than just a game.

It is a sporting activity that gives a sense of belonging and unifies the country around a team, which is showered with praise and criticism, and many times more is demanded than its own possibilities can give against rivals with more history, resources and quality of players. Hence the importance of the project that is now headed by the Argentine coach José Néstor Pékerman, who must have the full support of the country so that the next World Cup is no longer a party for others, but rather that in 2026 the country lives in its own flesh the joy of playing a World Cup.

The tactical evolution went from catanaccio to high pressure

The soccer World Cups are scenarios to exhibit the new tactical proposals of the selections. From the Italian catenaccio that allowed the Azzurra to win two world cups; Football then saw the luminous game of the magical Hungarian Magyars who, although they lost the final against Germany in the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, sowed the seeds of associated, supportive and offensive football.

The imprint of that team led by Puskas and directed by the genius of coach Bela Guttman, who made the first tactical revolution by delaying a striker to turn him into a center midfielder and achieving greater control of the ball and numerical superiority in attack, allowed the emergence of a more dynamic football.

In Mexico 70 the apotheosis of the choral football of Brazil and King Pelé took place; In Germany 74, Johan Cruyff's clockwork orange also amazed with his total football; and in Mexico 1986 we saw the epic of Maradona, the orchestra man. In Russia, high pressure and transitions to all races were imposed. We will see what surprises this World Cup holds for us.

There are no secrets or emerging players to surprise

The fact that soccer has gone global and there is not a single team that can hide its secrets has meant that the World Cups have lost some of their magic.

Everyone knows what each team plays, what their movements are and which footballers they can unbalance with a burst of genius. In 1958, when Pelé appeared with his baby face and barely 17 years of age at the World Cup in Switzerland, no one had any idea that he was a game prodigy. Now, everyone is warned and knows that Messi, Mbappé, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo can change the course of a game with their inventiveness, and that the emerging players will be Vinicius, Rodrigo, Musiala, Pedri or Ansu Fati, who are also known to background.

The transmission of the matches of the national teams and the systems to gather information put an end to the espionage of the training sessions, because there is no way to hide the strategies. There are no surprise players anymore, because everyone knows who is who in this age of instant information.

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