Posted by Muhammad Faisal Rahat | Posted in FIFA WorldCup 2010 | Posted on 24-06-2010
The group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2010 are nearing their end. Soon we will have clear daylight between the favourites and the ones who will be heading home. A lot has been made about this World Cup being the most open World Cup of all time. It has been unpredictable, but it is by no means the most open World Cup ever.
While most teams from Europe, Asia and Africa have been trying to put safety first by coming out on the field with the mindset of not conceding goals [a negative approach mind you] , teams from South America have been trying just the opposite. And boy have they been successful thus far! With the European and African nations stuttering, thank heavens for the South Americans, who have lit up the World Cup with style, flair, precision passing, defensive organization, attacking intent and an all-round liveliness about them.
Argentina and Brazil have been the most inspiring teams in the World Cup up till now, while Uruguay and Mexico have showed great attacking flair along with a stubbornly defensive unit. The USA have showed tremendous resilience and have always come out on the field of play with a ‘never say die’ attitude, which was reflected in their last minute winner against Algeria, courtesy of the golden boy of American ‘soccer’, Landon Donovan.
Brazil found it hard to break down a stubborn North Korean defense in their first match and took a while to get going against Ivory Coast in their second encounter, but finally got into their groove.
Argentina have been absolutely scintillating and delightful to watch as they have easily won their opening three matches of the competition and are among the favourites to lift the World Cup.
Paraguay have looked a powerhouse in Group F, drawing with the world champions Italy in their opener and seeing off Europeans Slovakia with ease in their second match and topping their group by claiming a draw against New Zealand.
And in the final group Chile, so impressive in qualifying, got off to the start they wanted with a win over Honduras, followed by another win against the Swiss.
The failure of European teams can easily be highlighted by the fact that both the finalists of the previous World Cup [France and Italy] could not even progress to the Round of 16.
Is this a massive changing of the guard, or have European teams simply underperformed? Did everyone underestimate the South Americans, with the exception of Brazil, and over inflate the chances of the traditional European powerhouses?
Unless this World Cup is to be a South American paradise, European sides will need to find form, and quickly. Otherwise Maradona or Dunga will surely get the chance to become World Cup-winning captains who also coached World Cup-winning teams. It is an unpredictable Sport and things can turn around very easily. Don’t be surprised to see the fortunes of the European teams turn in the latter stages of the competition.