Carlos Queiroz had a very favorable debut in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, which he has called the most difficult in the world. The Colombian team that he directs added 4 points and is third in the classification, fulfills the English average and does its homework, which is already a reason to celebrate.
However, after the games in Barranquilla and Santiago, he needs to rethink a couple of unforeseen events and other issues, before the duels against Uruguay at home and Ecuador as away. We review the pending list:
1. The mess on the right side
Santiago Arias is not and will not be for the next six months, due to the fibula fracture and ligament rupture that will require a long recovery. Stefan Medina, the alternative, suffered from a muscle problem that Monterrey in Mexico still does not explain, but it is possible that in four weeks he will not be at full capacity, as seen in Barranquilla.
What to do? That is the point. Juan Guillermo Cuadrado suffered when he had to go to the right back, a position he knows well in Juventus, but which sacrifices his entire offensive arsenal for Colombia. You have to look for a natural right back, as was done with Fabra and Mojica on the left. Candidates? Daniel Muñoz is established in Belgium and has already made a process. More names to the list?
2. Everything okay with the centrals?
Queiroz lost Mina through injury for the match against Chile and used a Jeison Murillo who put sacrifice, dedication and even supported the attack, he lacked precision to isolate Vargas. Nothing guarantees that Mina would have done better if he was fit, but the truth is that ‘snakes’ like Suárez & CO and Plata and their Ecuadorian henchmen are coming, up from Quito. Is Murillo the ideal substitute? If Lucumí is the one who has done the course with Queiroz, shouldn’t it be him, what is the bet for the future (as Alzate in his position? Pending issue because the good Yerry usually has physical problems in recent years and that forces him to always be covered.
3. Uribe, Lerma, Alzate: Has anyone lost the place?
Matheus Uribe did not reach the Colombian call due to a quarantine forced by his contact with an infected person. It is an advantage that, at the level of a Colombian National Team, is necessarily going to hurt. Lerma’s level in the games against Venezuela and Chile was superlative and although Barrios did not shine in Santiago, for a fixed man. But Uribe has a pass and middle distance, virtues that are common to Alzate: will one of the two be sacrificed? The good thing is that in this sector one does not sin by default but by excess …
4. Partners for James
The scenarios for the left-hander that makes a difference in the Colombian Selection were very clear in Barranquilla and in Santiago: Cuadrado, Lerma and Mojica were partners to harm a slow and innocent defense like Venezuela’s, but four days later, for different reasons , Cuadrado ended up far from his radar, Mojica had too many problems with the Chilean speed and could not help and only Lerma survived, but when he went to the right he lost as a man to unload the ball … Alzate, so young, tried but failed unbalanced.
James needs a Docouré and an Allan, a play cutter and a passer at his back, thus moving freely to seek associations up front. Who are they? There is Queiroz’s homework.
5. Alternatives in attack
Although it turned out that Morelos was able to leave his area of influence, that Falcao did the same in the minutes he had and defined ‘at 9’ the 2-2 draw against Chile, that Zapata was always the fixed man in the area, the truth is that they all ended up sacrificed and offered few alternatives when things went badly in Santiago and Muriel, the winger who played 3-0 against Venezuela, simply had a bad night.
It is true that Luis Díaz fell at the last minute due to a mandatory quarantine in Porto de Portugal (which also affected Uribe) and that this is his relief for Muriel, but clearly the 5 area referents limited the alternatives of attack before a defense that closed well and was impenetrable. If James goes too far to the right he loses offensive weight, and without Cuadrado at that point (he had to be a winger) the circuits are cut. The attack requires more profiles. Some will say Santos Borré, and the DT said he will have a choice. Will it be in November? He or whoever must appear soon because the rivals that come are very tough.
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