What happened to South American dominance?

July 4, 2010

There has been a lot of media talk about South American success and European failure at this World Cup, but for the width of a crossbar, there would have been no South American teams in the last four. After all 5 South American entrants got through the group stages and four out of five made it through to the quarter finals, who would have thought that Uruguay would be the only South American team in the semi-finals - and only then due the unfortunate penalty miss by Ghana's Asamoah Gyan following the villainy of Luis Suarez, whose unseemly celebrations after Gyan's miss and then again after Abreu scored Uruguay's winning penalty left an unsavory taste in my mouth. I'd predicted a Brazil v. Argentina final since the start of the tournament, but always thought that the discussion of the lack of European teams in the quarter finals was a bit of a false indicator, given that all six European nations that got through the group stages were the drawn against each other. The three European winners of these games in the last 16 (Germany, Spain, Netherlands) are now 3 of the 4 semi-finalists. So, who'll win it all now? The best team looks like Germany, but Spain beat them in 2008 and have David Villa, the tournament's highest scorer. Germany are without Thomas Muller in the semi-final. It'll be tight. Uruguay have a proven match-winner in Diego Forlan and a mean defence. The Dutch have arguably Europe's best player last season, Wesley Sneijder. We'll see you at the Small Bar on Tuesday afternoon to find out!
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