FIFA World Cup 2010: Can Anyone Stop the Americas?

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FIFA World Cup 2010: Can Anyone Stop the Americas?
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was supposed to feature African teams.

After the group stage, the first World Cup on the continent of Africa has to be considered a failure for the African teams. South Africa becomes the first host nation to fail to reach the second round.

Overall, African nations won three games, tied five games, and lost 10 games. The worst offender was Cameroon, who did not win or draw a game.

Six African nations qualified for the 2010 World Cup but only one—Ghana—advanced past the first round. To be fair, both South Africa and the Ivory Coast finished the group stage with the same amount of points, four, as Ghana.

While Ghana was able to advance based on better goal differential over Australia, South Africa was unable to advance because Mexico had a better goal differential. The Ivory Coast can look back at their draw with Portugal for their failure to advance.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was also supposed to show that European teams could win the tournament when it is not hosted on their continent.

Teams from Europe make up nearly half the 32 teams in the tournament with 13 European teams qualifying. It is assumed that a majority of teams in the second round would be European teams, and six teams advanced to the knockout stage.

Carrying the standard for Europe is the Netherlands, who has yet to tie or lose a game. Spain started out slowly with a loss to Switzerland in their opening game, but came back to win their group.

Other European teams like Greece and Denmark did not live up to their potential to advance. The worst offenders from Europe have to be Italy and France.

Just four short years ago, Italy and France played in the World Cup final that was marred by a head-butt from French star Zinedine Zidane. Things would be drastically in 2010 for the Italians and the French.

Never in World Cup history have the two participants of the previous World Cup Final, who qualified for the next World Cup, failed to advance past the group stage.

The French and the Italians both also did not win a group game and lost two games while drawing another.

A poor showing in the second round by European teams would make this World Cup a huge disaster. Of the six European teams to qualify for the second round, only three have a chance to advance.

Germany and England, the Netherlands and Slovakia, along with Portugal and Spain, will face each other in the second round.

The three teams left after the second round have to carry the European standard forward to make this a successful World Cup for Europe.

Asia did well as a continent, with four teams qualifying for the World Cup and two of those four advancing. South Korea and Japan both finished second in their group to advance to the knockout stage.

Australia started out slowly in a bad loss to Germany, but turned things around to have a decent World Cup experience. North Korea did not have a chance of advancing after being drawn in the same group as the Ivory Coast, Portugal, and Brazil.

No one expect that the 2010 FIFA World Cup would be dominated by the Americas. Not the Americans, who won their group for the first time since 1930, but the “New World” Americas as a whole.

Starting with continent of South America, which qualified five teams into the 2010 World Cup and had all five advancing to second round. Four of the five South American teams also won their groups.

The standard bearer for the South American teams has to be Argentina, who finished group play undefeated and untied. The Argentinians are followed by Brazil, who finished group play undefeated but with a tie.

Uruguay and Paraguay also finished at the top of their group and undefeated with a tie as well. These two teams are a surprise teams to win their group.

Paraguay advanced over group favorites Italy, while Uruguay advanced over their group favorite France and host nation South Africa. Chile was the only South America team to lose a game in group play.

Chile’s loss came at the hands of tournament favorite Spain, but they did advance to the next round. Chile is playing for a nation ravaged by an earthquake earlier this year.

South America is not the only teams from the Americas to make a major impact at the 2010 World Cup. As stated before, the United States used late-game heroics to draw against Slovenia and win against Algeria.

The US could have beaten Slovenia, but a late goal was disallowed and after a goalkeeper error by Robert Green, they were able to draw with England. When the United States last won their group in 1930, there were only 13 nations participating in the World Cup.

Not to be outdone by South America and North America. Central America decided to get in on the act with Mexico advancing in as well. The Mexicans finished in second place behind Uruguay.

Mexico and the United States only helped to add to the dominance started by the South American teams. But not everything was prefect and wonderful for teams from the Americas.

Honduras, representing Central America, was the only team from the Americas who failed to advance. The Hondurans finished with two losses and a draw in group play.

Overall, the nations from the Americas finished with 12 wins, eight draws, and four losses. Half of those losses, remember, belong to Honduras.

Of the 16 teams to advance to the second round, seven teams are from the Americas. The only thing might derail the teams from the Americas could be themselves.

In the second round Brazil will play fellow South American team Chile. Argentina will face Mexico in the knockout stage as well.

That leaves the United States, Paraguay, and Uruguay facing teams from either Africa or Asia to advance to the quarterfinals. If all the teams above advance, it will mean in the quarterfinals five of the eight teams will be from the Americas.

This World Cup could be remembered for South American dominance. But maybe the rest of the Americas being Central and South America should get credit to adding to the dominance.

Right now the only thing that seems able to stop the Americas is the Americas themselves.

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