Over the elusive 84 year history of the FIFA World Cup, no European team has ever lifted the cup on South American soil. But with an array of European teams in top form it glooms a huge possibility that this year the Europeans may concur Brazil.
- By Harry Taylor
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Europe have always managed to provide strong competitors to battle it out against the giants of South-American football, Brazil & Argentina, but whenever footballs greatest tournament has been on home turf for them, a European team has never managed to beat them. They have failed on 6 separate occasions. But will it be 7th time lucky for a European side?
The main reason for Europe’s failure is believed to be because of the dramatic change in conditions, the climate is a lot hotter to that of Europe’s and with many of the stadiums at a high altitude, it makes it difficult for European sides to compete at the same intensity that they are used to, therefore the south Americans have clearly benefit from being acclimatised to these conditions.
So let’s have a look at the two main potential candidates from Europe that can spoil the party in Brazil.
‘La Roja’ have dominated football in Europe and across the world over the last 6 years. They are reigning champions of the world cup after a truly brilliant campaign in South Africa which saw them beat the Netherlands in the final, they have also won 2 Euro’s in that time, and from these successes they have gained a huge reputation and believed to be one of the greatest national sides to ever grace the field of play. However most recently, in the confederations cup, they were emphatically beaten 4-0 by hosts Brazil. Due to this defeat they seem to be have been rather unfairly ruled out as favourites to conquer South America.
However when you have a team that consists of Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Costa, Fabregas etc. it is hard to not see them as potential champions, and as well as having a team full of technically brilliant players, they also have a great philosophy of play that fully complements the teams creativity and flair.
Although Del Bosques team has one of the toughest groups in the tournament, which consist of last year’s finalist the Netherlands and a Chile side full of excitement, panache and everything else that comes with playing a 3-4-3 formation with the calibre of players at their disposable. Even with these top opponents I believe Spain will qualify relatively comfortably and that the Netherlands and Chile will be the teams battling to go through in 2nd place.
After the group stage we all know it is a lottery for who progresses to the next round, however Spain look to have assured a ticket to at least the quarter final as they are most likely to face either Mexico or Croatia, two teams in which Spain’s class should come out on top, after that they will be most likely face one of Italy, Uruguay or Colombia, these are all teams that Spain would be favourites to win and as long as there top players turn up on the day, they should see no problems progressing even further. After this, they will face the best that the competition has to offer and in all honesty it could go anyway, they have enough quality to go all the way it’s just that they may struggle to continue to play at their usual high intensity throughout the tournament due to their lack of acclimatisation to the conditions.
On the 10th April, FIFA announced its new rankings and the team that followed narrowly behind Spain was the Germans. Joachim Löw has created an electrifying team with the capabilities to break down any teams with their fast transitional play from defence to attack. The side has an abundance of talent with the likes of Hummels, Gotze, Reus, Lahm and Ozil all leading the team in a fierce some line-up set to play in Brazil.
With Löw in charge, they have a wise tactician that has brought excitement to the German National team by introducing a 4-2-3-1 system that is stable in defence and enables them to be lethal on the counter. Löws most brilliant use of his tactical nous was when he first took over the national team and switched Bastian Schweinsteiger from a winger into a central midfielder, through occupying the Bayern captain in a central role it brought much needed balance to the team. And now with the young talents that Germany possess it will mean that through Schweinsteiger and Lahm, these two more experienced players in the team should be able to guide the youngsters and give them much needed to confidence to truly express themselves. Meaning Löw is able to get the best out of his side.
One of the reasons why Die Adler have a great chance to win the World Cup in Brazil is purely down to the fact that they always seem to perform on the big stage. They have managed to win the illustrious trophy on 3 occasions, making them one of the most successful nations to compete in the tournament. Also in the last 3 world cups, Germany has either reached the semi-finals or won it, showing they are a team which has the know-how to go far in the competition.
Similarly to Spain they do have a challenging group, with the newly ranked 3rd best team Portugal in the group, a team that has the honour of having last year’s Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, to boast in their side. The group also contains last tournaments surprise quarter-finalists, Ghana, and a USA team coached by former German World Cup winner, Jürgen Klinsmann. Assuming Germany can win there group, they should face an easy opponent most likely in the form of Bosnia & Herzegovina or Nigeria which should almost guarantee a spot in the quarters at the very least for ‘Die Mannschaft’.
However, whether a European team will win the elusive World Cup in Brazil is yet to be known and all will be revealed in less than 60 days. So do you believe a European team can go all the way in Brazil? And if so which one?