South American nations have won all four World Cups previously hosted in their own continent. But that’s going a long way back. In fact, 36 years since the last World Cup final in South America.
Football has come a long way since then and with two European nations in the final four at Brazil 2014 there is a good chance that the World Cup trophy will be staying in Europe for a third consecutive tournament, following Italy’s win in 2006 and Spain in 2010.
Here’s a look at those four previous World Cups and how European sides fared.
Neither of the four European nations fared too well in the inaugural World Cup in 1930, held in Uruguay. Yugoslavia were the only side to win their group and reach the semi-finals.
The final was contested by two South American sides as Uruguay beat Argentina.
Brazil hosted their first World Cup back in 1950. This was decided in a group stage with the decisive match being between Uruguay and the hosts. Uruguay won to win their second World Cup whilst Brazil made do with runners-up.
1962 saw Chile become the third South American country to host a World Cup. Defending champions Brazil retained their final against Czechoslovakia – the first European side to reach a final in South America. They did beat fellow European nation Yugoslavia in the semi-finals and bother of those nations played European sides (Hungary and West Germany) in the quarter-finals, which actually guaranteed a European finalist after the group stage.
The last World Cup to be hosted in South America prior to this year’s tournament was 36 years ago in Argentina.
Argentina won their first-ever World Cup when hosting it in 1978 – beating the Netherlands 3-1 after extra-time. After the initial four groups, the final eight were split into two more groups with the winners reaching the final. And guess what? The Netherlands were in an all-European group, along with Italy, West Germany and Austria – once again guaranteeing a European spot in the final.
History not on Germany or the Netherlands’ side
South American teams have taken six of the top two spots in the previous four World Cups held in their own continent. European sides have reached the final just twice, losing on both occasions. On both occasions, those European sides were guaranteed a spot in the final once the final eight were decided, but virtue of the draw.
European sides have not fared well so far in this tournament in head-to-head matches with South American sides – winning just 2 of the 11 meetings so far in Brazil, losing 8.
Germany have yet to face a South American side in this tournament ahead of tonight’s semi-final with the hosts. But they have every season to go into the match confident.
I believe Germany will make history in this tournament by becoming the first European nation to win a World Cup in South America in 2014. Joachim Löw’s side have the added advantage in the semi-finals with Brazil being without Neymar and Thiago Silva, on top of already looking like the favourites to win the tournament.