FIFA World Cup 2010: South America Leading the Way

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FIFA World Cup 2010: South America Leading the Way
Phil Cole/Getty Images

Whilst the European big guns are struggling or failing to make it out of the group stages, the South American sides are showing them how it should be done.

Of the seven Central and Southern American teams in the competition, only Honduras are failing. The rest seem on course to progress. 


Uruguay

Uruguay have played well during the group stage. A dull draw against France wasn't the best advertisement for the World Cup, but a point against France was a decent result.

Since then, Uruguay have shown the World what they can do.

A 3-0 win against South Africa saw Uruguay playing good football and looking dangerous. A 1-0 win over a good Mexico side means that Uruguay will avoid Argentina in the next round.

Importantly, they have also been solid in defence. They are yet to concede a goal, and have looked solid at the back.

They will face South Korea in the next round. Uruguay will be feeling confident, but will need to play well to beat a decent South Korean side.


Mexico

The Central Americans have qualified second from Group A. Not a bad effort in a group that included Uruguay and France.

Mexico were the better side in their 1-1 draw in the tournament's opening match against South Africa.

They followed up on this draw with an impressive 2-0 win against France. Whilst France have internal issues, they are still a side full of talent and experience.

Mexico went into their final match against Uruguay needing just a draw to ensure qualification.

The ended up losing 1-0, but that was enough for them to advance. Despite the loss, Mexico played well, and had plenty of chances.

Mexico will go up against Argentina in the next round. Nobody will be expecting them to win. However, given the way this World Cup is going, who knows?


Argentina

Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites, haven't been troubled in qualifying. They dominated Nigeria, but only managed to win 1-0. 

A 4-1 win over South Korea demonstrated what Argentina are capable of. They finished off their group with a 2-0 win over an unadventurous Greek side.

Worryingly for future opponents, Messi hasn't scored yet. Even without his goals, Argentina have scored seven times.

Argentina have played attacking football, and are blessed with an array of players that allow them to do this. There is no team in the competition that won't be threatened by Argentina going forward.

Argentina go up against Mexico in the next round. They will be expected to win, and have shown they have more than enough to progress further.


Paraguay

Paraguay are currently top of Group F, ahead of Italy. 

Paraguay were the better side for much of their opening clash with defending champions Italy. They took the lead before half time, and had plenty of chances to add to their lead.

Unfortunately, a goalkeeping error derailed them and they ended up with just a point.

The result was still a good one, and Paraguay followed it up with a good 2-0 win over Slovakia, including two of the better goals of the World Cup.

Impressive during qualifying, Paraguay doesn't possess the big names like some other sides.

However, they work well as a team and will hope to beat either Japan or Denmark in the next round.

Obviously they must beat New Zealand first, something not to be taken for granted any more.


Brazil

After a difficult first hour against North Korea, Brazil have picked their game up. They ended up winning 2-1 against North Korea, and have since beaten the Ivory Coast 3-1.

So far we haven't seen a traditional Brazilian team. Rather than the flamboyant side that we're all used to, we've been given an efficient and solid side.

There have been moments of brilliance, such as Maicon's goal against North Korea, but for the most part we've seen a team heavily influenced by a defensive Dunga.

Their efficiency combined with their natural flair means that Brazil have the potential to do great things in this tournament, even if Dunga's style of play isn't too popular at home.

If Brazil want to finish top of their group, they will need to avoid defeat against Portugal later this week. 

This is by no means an easy task, especially as Portugal seem to have hit form with a dominant 7-0 win over North Korea.

Brazil have already qualified for the next round. If they qualify top they could well face Chile, but a second place finish might just see them face off against Spain, although Spain have been misfiring, and therefore Brazil might face them even if they finish top.


Chile

Coming into this tournament, Chile hadn't won a World Cup match since 1962.

Two 1-0 wins later, Chile will be feeling far more confident.

They should've scored more goals than they have, but they have looked good going forwards and have the potential to score against any side.

Chile face off against Spain in their final group match. They need a draw to ensure qualification, but could go through even if they lose.

Given their attacking philosophy and Switzerland's triumph over the Spaniards, defeat will be the last thing on their minds.

A win would see them qualify top on maximum points, and would set up a clash with Group G's runners up.

All three teams who could finish up runners from Group G will pose a threat to Chile. Regardless of who they play, they will need to go out and play their normal style of football.

A win against Argentina during qualifying shows that they can compete with the big guns. They will need to perform just like that if they want to progress further.


Honduras

Honduras haven't had the greatest tournament. So far they have lost both their matches without posing any real threat.

They struggled to qualify for the tournament, having to beat Costa Rica in a play off.

The Central Americans can't realistically qualify, but will be playing for pride when they take on Switzerland in their final group match

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