New Continent, New Stadia… Same Old World Cup Story for Samba Stars?

AS footballers from all over the globe touch down in South Africa next year for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a degree of unfamiliarity will undoubtedly overwhelm them.

With the exception of a select few from countries such as the Ivory Coast and the host nation, a large number will experience a different climate, a different selection of stadia and, indeed, a completely different continent to World Cup tournaments they are used to.

As the 32 nations prepare to kick off the tournament, however, one eventuality is bound to shine through – that a team from South America will continue to dominate the world scene.

Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Argentina will represent South America in South Africa next season, with the latter two without doubt amongst the favourites to win the tournament. Their status is not without foundation, either – in the last ten World Cup tournaments, only three have featured a final without a South American side. And each of these three tournaments were held in Europe (Germany in 2006, Spain 1982 and 1974 in West Germany).

ITALY celebrate their 2006 success – one of only three finals since 1970 not to
feature a South American side.

As such, the five Samba sides are unlikely to be inconvenienced by South Africa’s conditions – and perhaps the most interesting stat is that every single World Cup tournament held outside Europe has been won by a South American country.

On four of those occasions (Chile 1962, Mexico 1970, USA 1994 and Japan/Korea 2002) Brazil won the trophy – which, combined with their 1958 win in Sweden, makes them the most successful tournament side in history, and means they have both won more games and scored more goals than any other country in World Cup history.

Their quarter-final exit to France in 2006 ended their hopes of reaching four successive World Cup finals, but with Carlos Dunga able to call upon the individual brilliance of Kaká, Robinho and Luís Fabiano – who has scored 25 goals in 36 caps – they will be confident of returning the status quo when the 2010 tournament concludes in Johannesburg on July 11.

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Brazil’s Dream Team – Dunga will look to Kaká and Luís Fabiano for Brazil’s creative spark

In contrast Argentina, probably their biggest threat to the crowd of South American top dogs, have consistently failed to make an impression upon the latter stages of the tournament since reaching successive finals in 1986 and 1990. Any side able to field Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Pablo Aimar and Maxi Rodríguez in a friendly, as Diego Maradona did against Catalonia in December, possesses the quality to star on the global stage.

Aside from the obvious two South American giants, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile would cause huge shocks if they progressed to the latter stages of a competition not only containing their South American cousins but also Italy, England and Spain. Uruguay are steeped in World Cup tradition, with two wins in 1930 and 1950, but will do well to progress from a group containing South Africa, Mexico and France.

Paraguay should manage to scrape second place in Group F, where they will face reigning champions Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia, whereas Chile may struggle to shine against Spain, Switzerland and Honduras.

One Response to “New Continent, New Stadia… Same Old World Cup Story for Samba Stars?”

  1. Challenge Feedback Says:

    crowd of South American top dogs > crown of South American top dogs
    Fifa > FIFA

    another well written article
    perhaps not as interesting as some of the other entries in this task

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