2014-07-09

World Cup: Familiar Foes In Finals

Much had been made coming into the World Cup that perhaps a new soccer champion outside the traditional giants would be crowned.

I myself considered Belgium, Chile and Colombia dark horses to go deep. Alas, only Belgium managed to get to the Quarter-finals - which is a great feat for a program that has rebuilt itself.

The USA also showed they're on a good trajectory. True, they failed to make it past the Round of 16, but this is a solid soccer team. The Americans have arrived.

In fact, it was a strong showing for Concacaf in my opinion with Costa Rica having reached the Quarters only to lose to Holland on penalties. Mexico were minutes away from a quarter-final spot before the same Dutch team pulled a victory from nowhere.

But none of this changed the fact that in the final four there were traditional soccer powers with three of the four having won the World Cup multiple times. Holland having reached the finals three times without a win leaving them with the tag of being the Buffalo Bills/Minnesota Vikings of soccer.

The final will feature Argentina and Germany. Two sides who have met in the finals twice before with Argentina having won in 1986 and Germany in 1990. Now they will meet for a whopping third time.

A repeat final between two countries has only happened once before and it involved, incidentally, two other mighty soccer countries with Brazil and Italy (in 1970 and 1994 with Brazil winning both times).

So once again, Soccernomics prediction that the traditional powers will recede and give way to the likes of Iraq (who are non-existent at the moment in that they're nowhere near ready to challenge) will have to wait still some more.

Consider this.

There have been 20 World Cups since 1930. This means there have been 40 spots in the finals. 26 of those have been occupied by Germany (8), Brazil (7), Italy (6), Argentina (5). This translates into a WC final have one of those four countries in the finals 65% of the time.

When you add two other champions - Uruguay and France - who have been to a final more than once it shoots up to 30 spots taken up by six countries or 75%.

Add The Netherlands who have been to three finals (without winning a title) and now we're at 33 of 40 and seven countries. Hungary was a super power between the 1930s and 1950s and like the Dutch failed to register a title in two finals. 35 of 40 with eight countries. Same with Czechoslovakia two finals no wins. 37 of 40; nine countries.

The remaining three spots go to England, Spain, Sweden.

12 countries have been to a final.

There are currently 209 member associations in FIFA.

Just 12 (6%) have made it to a final.

They (the Big Four) represent 2% of FIFA but own 65% of the finals appearances.

Remarkable statistic.

1 comment:

  1. But none of this changed the fact that in the final four there were traditional soccer powers with three of the four having won the World Cup multiple times. Holland having reached the finals three times without a win leaving them with the tag of being the Buffalo Bills/Minnesota Vikings of soccer.
    The final will feature Argentina and Germany. Two sides who have met in the finals twice before with Argentina having won in 1986 and Germany in 1990. Now they will meet for a whopping third time.
    So once again, Soccernomics prediction that the traditional powers will recede and give way to the likes of ....will have to wait still some more.


    I cannot but agree in all you have said. I would add that Europe is there more than anyone else perhaps, since Holland and Germany are European and Argentina is most European South America state, half Spanish and half Italian, all white people if this term is of any meaning today.

    In Italia the match of tomorrow is already called, for the record, the ‘match of the two popes’. The German pope just said yesterday: "Vinca il migliore = may the best win" while the other pope, Francis I, said instead: "Io tifo per l'Argentina! = I cheer Argentina!"

    As you can see, Roma, always, is at the centre of everything.

    ReplyDelete

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