Style is the indelible mark with which a coach makes his team play. The possession of the ball, the combinative game, the defensive pressure and the permanent search for the free player is the non-negotiable style with which the Catalan Pep Guardiola makes the teams he directs play. Football at full speed, with few touches and brilliant counterattacks after the recovery of the ball has been the method used by the German Jurgen Klopp in the clubs he has managed in Germany and now in Liverpool in the English Premier League. With time, economic resources to sign players who fit the proposal, the coach's style can be sustained and give the results expected by his demanding fans and millionaire leaders.
But the reality of a club is very different from that experienced by the coaches of the national teams, as is the case in Venezuela. The tie requires adjusting the pieces, making the most of the available troops, and planning each game with the obligation to score points against rivals with proposals that vary in little more than three days. Hence the merit of the work of Leonardo González and the entire technical team that supports him at Vinotinto. Without a single preparation game, with a squad full of casualties and emotionally beaten by the poor results they had obtained in the tie, Leo has managed to instill a style in the team.
The new hallmarks are visible. The team tries to start playing from the bottom from the clean start provided by Nahuel Ferraresi, the most reliable and secure center-back that Venezuela has had since the days of José Manuel Rey. Solidarity is another hallmark of Vinotinto. Everyone has to spread out to press, reduce gaps or make the covers. The emblem of this attitude committed to the roots is embodied by José “Brujo” Martínez, an all-around player of the new times who recovers the ball with the technique of a plastic surgeon, without leaving a single mark on his surgical work, steps on the ball, accelerates or marks the pause and, in addition, reaches the rival area in danger.
Leo's selection showed against Brazil and Ecuador that it is a choral team, where the collective voices hide the vocal deficiencies of some interpreter. Before the losses of the triple S of Soteldo, Savarino and Salomón, the football of the national team fell on the depth provided by Ronald Hernández and Eduard Bello on the right wing, the mobility and omnipresence of Darwin Machís, the increasingly consistent push of the reborn Adalberto Peñaranda and the unyielding faith of Eric Ramírez to fight in the area to sharpen scoring opportunities. The national team is a long way from Qatar, but today it exhibits a defined style that with time and more work can reduce the distance for the 2026 World Cup.