The South American Qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup would have been the last with the competition format in which the ten teams faced each other on 18 dates, round trip.
The expansion of quotas for Conmebol, with 6 direct quotas for the next World Cup, and half a quota for a playoff against a team from another continent, would cause drastic changes to the South American qualifiers. In addition, FIFA and Conmebol want a new format to give excitement to the World Cup.
Thus, there is already a version that speaks of a format with two groups of five teams each. The particular thing is that they would not face each other, but rather each team would play against the five countries from the other group, in round-trip games, to complete ten games and no team would rest.
At the end of that round, the first two teams in each group will be classified directly to the 2026 World Cup; although they would play a league (round-trip semi-finals and a symbolic final). For its part, the last of each zone will be eliminated automatically.
There are two and a half quotas left, how are they defined?
In the next stage of the qualifiers, the third in each group will face the fourth. These duels will be played round trip. The winners of each pairing will be made with the last two direct quotas to the next World Cup.
The losers will face each other, round trip, and the winner would go to the intercontinental playoff.
Thus, teams such as Colombia, Chile, Paraguay or Peru could benefit from this format, which is strange to some, but which would give South American countries excitement and opportunities to reach the World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.