BOGOTA, July 26 (Xinhua) — Colombia will seek to play two friendlies in Europe in September as they prepare for the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifiers, the country’s football federation said on Sunday.
The Cafeteros squad for the friendlies will likely comprise Europe-based players only, given widespread travel restrictions in Latin America because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“[We] are designing a plan focusing on players in Europe, since there are limitations with those based in South America,” read a Colombian Football Federation (FCF) statement.
“It should also be noted that players who are active in Europe will have better match fitness than those in South America because their leagues will have already restarted [after their coronavirus hiatus],” it added.
CONMEBOL this month announced that the region’s 2002 World Cup qualifiers would begin in October. The 18-round tournament was suspended just days before its scheduled start in March because of the escalating health crisis.
The top four teams at the end of the South American qualifiers will earn an automatic place in football’s showpiece tournament in Qatar, to be played from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
The fifth-ranked team will advance to an intercontinental playoff, to be held over two legs in June 2022.
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