South America dominates for the first time in a long time, in a decades long World Cup soccer rivalry between South America and Europe.
In world cup soccer, there is a rivalry that most US College Football fans should be able to relate to. It is the rivalry between the two most successful national soccer conferederations, UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America). The rivalry can be closely compared to what is seen between the SEC and the PAC 10 in college football. One group, (Europe/SEC) is generally considered to have the best quality of football in the world (like how I used “football” in a double meaning there?) the other (South America/Pac 10) believe that they are just as good as the other, but are dealing with a (European/East Coast) bias.
When it comes to College Football, the problem lies in getting a bid for the National Championship, or a second bid for the BCS, in soccer the issue is entries into the World Cup. As far as the Europeans are concerned, South America has too many bids because their confederation has only 10 teams but can earn as many as five entries into the tournament, or 50%. Europe usually gets 12-13 bids, but has 53 members, or about 25%. South America, however, feels that they have the best players in the World and that their confederation does not include tiny countries with no shot to win the Cup, like Luxembourg or Latvia, so they should get more bids.
Over the past several World Cups, Europe has proven their argument by knocking out South American teams in droves, leaving Brazil and Argentina to hold the South American banner. This year however, the South American teams have not only fought back, they have put together one of the soundest thumpings of any confederation in history. Of the five teams that qualified for the World Cup in 2010, all five reached the elimination round, and only one (Chile) lost its round of 16 game. Who beat Chile? Brazil, another South American team. This, of course means that four of the eight remaining teams in the World Cup are from South America, and the remaining bracket makes it possible, albeit unlikely, that the final four teams could all hail from South America.
The results of this World Cup will not lead to added bids for CONMEBOL, but it certainly makes a sound case that they deserved the five they got, despite what their rivals in Europe might say.