Up to South Africa 2010, the ongoing battle between Latin American and European teams for World Cup glory was very much even. This time around, however, the five squads from down the Ecuador are demonstrating a level of strength only Germany can match somewhat (the least we talk about France and Italy, the better.)
Europe brought this near debacle onto itself. Instead of developing homegrown talent, the biggest European clubs prefer to pay insane amounts of money for skillful players from across the Atlantic. The fact Cristiano Ronaldo is from Portugal is almost an accident (plus CR9 hasn’t quite set the World Cup on fire.)
It also helped the Latin American teams had to play a grueling total of 18 games for five spots in the World Cup. There is an style behind Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina’s game that comes from playing as a team regularly.
Among the fab five, I particularly like Chile’s strategy. Call me bias, but coach Marcelo Bielsa offensive set-up makes for a great show. No other team has three forward players, it’s far more likely to find five defenders.
While the effectiveness is missing (Chile has only scored twice this far), it’s a joy to watch a team aiming forward as opposed to preventing the other from scoring. Despite winning two matches out of two, a defeat against Spain on Friday may keep the Chileans from the knock-out phase. Here is hoping fortune favors the brave.