Football

South American football on the rise

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There have been many surprises in this year's World Cup, not least in Group D. Heading into the tournament in Brazil not many would have picked both Italy and England to exit at the first stage. Taking their places in the next round will be Costa Rica - who surprisingly topped the group, and Uruguay. While this may have been somewhat of a shock to Europeans, is it in fact signalling the start of an era of dominance for the South Americans?

Joining the two sides from Group D already qualified for the last 16 include latter-stage regulars Brazil and Argentina, but also Chile and Colombia. In fact, it's been the two lesser-known teams who have impressed the most so far at this tournament. Many have never seen a side work as hard as Chile, and in Alexis Sanchez they have a player of genuine world-class, as well as a host of very good players alongside him.

One of only four teams with a 100% record so far is Colombia. Los Cafeteros have so far beaten Greece, the Ivory Coast and Japan, and will face Uruguay in the next round. Their stand-out player has been James Rodriguez. The 22-year-old Monaco forward came into the tournament with the hopes of a nation, following Radamel Falcao's injury, but he hasn't disappointed. Rodriguez has already scored three goals, and set up a further two, to be one of the stars of the World Cup so far.

Despite Ecuador's elimination from Group E, there are six teams from South America progressing to the second round. That's higher than any other World Cup since the current format of eight groups came into place in 1998. That's one more team through to the last 16 than Europe has, and, despite the more favourable conditions in Brazil, may well be a sign of a European dominated era coming to an end.

Three of the last four World Cups have been one by teams in the UEFA - Spain, in 2010, Italy, in 2006, and France in 1998. Only five times winners Brazil have won the competition in that time - in 2002.

For the last four years the number one in FIFA's rankings has been a European team. One suspects, if the South Americans continue to perform this well in the next couple of years, then maybe the pendulum will swing their way, and we will enter a period of American dominance.


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Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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