Tuesday, July 6, 2010

World Cup Semis and Finals Historical Look

With Netherlands beating out Uruguay today, history has been made.  For the first time ever, a European country will win the World Cup away from European soil.  Of the 18 WCs so far, 10 were held in Europe, 4 in South America, 3 in North America, 1 in Asia and now 1 in Africa.  Part of the reason I kept thinking that Brazil would win this year is that they usually emerge as the victor when the WC is held on "neutral" ground - meaning not in Europe or South America.  They've won 3 of 4 times:

Brazil '70 in Mexico
Argentina '86 in Mexico
Brazil '94 in the USA
Brazil '02 in Korea/Japan

They won the first time the WC was held in North America and then in Asia.  You'd think they'd win the first time it was held in Africa.  You'd also think that they'd also be one of the 6 teams to win the title in their home country, but they aren't.  Those that did are:

Uruguay '30, Italy '34, England '66, W Germany '74, Argentina '78, France '98.

Brazil did progress to the final in the only WC it ever hosted in 1950 but lost to Uruguay.  Which are the countries who progressed to the finals of the WC they were hosting and lost?

Brazil '50 lost to Uruguay
Sweden '58 lost to Brazil

Which countries made it to the semifinals of the WC they were hosting and lost?

Chile '62, Italy '90, Korea '02, Germany '06.

So of the 19 WCs including this year, the host nation has reached the semifinals 12 times, with 8 that reached the finals and 6 who won it all.  Those are pretty decent odds - too bad South Africa couldn't progress from their group.  Then again, the US and Mexico (twice) didn't get to the semis when they hosted either.  How the heck did S Korea get there?  That's the real question.  Shoddy officiating, wasn't it?

In the 18 WC tournaments starting from 1930 through 2006, Europeans (Italy 4, W Germany 3, England 1, France 1) and South Americans (Brazil 5, Argentina 2, Uruguay 2) have each won 9 times.

This year, Europe will finally breakthrough outside the European border as the Netherlands and Germany took down favorites, Brazil and Argentina.  This would be the first time since the 1930 and 1934 WCs that Brazil or Argentina are not in successive semifinals, having both missed in 2006 and again this year.

Also, this will be the first time since Italy's '34 and '38 wins that European countries will win back to back World Cups.  Of course, Brazil did it for South America by winning in '58 and '62.

In regards to the 9 South American titles, 4 were won on the home continent (Uruguay '30, '50, Brazil '62, Argentina '78) and 4 away, as listed earlier.  Brazil is still the only South American or European country to win at a tournament held on the other's soil - 1958 vs Sweden.  Of course, they've had more chances since 10 were held in Europe and only 4 in South America.  Still, its interesting to see the dominance that European teams display on European soil and its ineptitude away from it.

Last note on Brazil, its surprising that they have won 4 of its 5 titles away from South America.  Its safe to say that the odds are with them winning it all in 2014.  In just about every way, they're due.

No comments:

Post a Comment