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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 17:16 UK

World Cup 2010: Why South America is dominating in SA

Paraguay celebrate their penalty shoot-out success against Japan

Four South American teams are through to the quarter-finals of a World Cup for the first time since 1930.

Hosts Uruguay were triumphant then, although, facing a three-week journey by boat, only four European teams entered the competition.

In 2010, there are no excuses to dilute the achievements of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, who will play the Netherlands, Germany, Ghana and Spain in their respective quarter-finals in South Africa.

This may be Africa's World Cup off the pitch, but it is South America's on it, as the BBC's Daniel Gallas and Vladimir Hernandez explain.

The BBC's Vladimir Hernandez
Vladimir Hernandez
BBC Mundo in South Africa
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The similarities between the South American teams goes well beyond their shared culture. They all represent - to varying degrees - the same football philosophy.

The way of playing puts ability before physicality and rewards improvisation and dribbling instead of punishing it.

I have heard some South American and Spanish journalists ask with bewilderment why a player like England's Joe Cole is not used more often

Vladimir Hernandez

It is a type of football that Spain played en route to being crowned European champions in 2008 but which is seen all year round in South America.

There are differences within this philosophy, of course. On one side, there is the hunger for possession from Argentina. On the other is the physical prowess of Uruguay and Paraguay. Perhaps in the middle lie Brazil, who posses a touch of beauty and a touch of beast.

All four teams have graduated from a school that teaches players to cherish the ball, to hold it as much as possible.

It is not just about flicks and tricks but opening up teams with quick one-twos and starving the opponents of possession.

I have heard some South American and Spanish journalists ask with bewilderment why a player like England's Joe Cole is not used more often. He is viewed as a classic number 10 - a number that carries the legacy of Pele, Diego Maradona, Zico and Enzo Francescoli.

Brazil players celebrate with Robinho
Brazil offer the powerful middle of deft skill and fearsome power

That type of player is blessed with the ability to crack open defences, just like Brazil's Robinho, Spain's Andres Iniesta and Argentina's Lionel Messi.

Maybe this World Cup marks a renaissance for this type of football.

In Germany 2006, the four semi-finalists were European. Arguably none produced a display that will be remembered down the years.

Champions Italy were hailed more for their defence than their attack. And it was a centre-half, the Italian Fabio Cannavaro, who won the award for best player at the tournament.

Four years later, there are four teams - five if you include Spain - from the same footballing school through to the last eight.

It could even be an all-South American affair come the semi-finals.

History favours these sides. Every time the World Cup is held outside of Europe, the trophy has been lifted by a team from the Americas.

The BBC's Daniel Gallas
Daniel Gallas
BBC Brasil in South Africa
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Uruguay and Paraguay can capitalise on the fact that they are often underestimated.

Teams forget Uruguay have amazing strikers while Paraguay are good at passing the ball long distances and have a strong defence. Still, no one expected them to do this well in South Africa.

Uruguay and Paraguay are teams that South Americans like to call 'coperos' - they perform well in tournaments like the World Cup.

Maradona backheels the ball on the sidelines
Maradona has brought a spirit to Argentina which could provide the edge

Argentina have good players who know what to do on the pitch but they needed a leader who could bring spirit to the team.

Coach Maradona is the right guy for the job. Argentina can go very far and are favourites to beat Germany, especially given the Germans are not looking that great in defence.

As for Brazil, Dunga is beginning to win over the country's fans.

The way the team played in the 3-0 defeat of Chile in the last 16 - with Ramires and Daniel Alves in the starting line-up - delivered more of the football that Brazilians enjoy.

We have to remember that Dunga has had some great results in the last four years. Winning the World Cup is really his big, big target now.

I would not be surprised to see all four South American teams going through - and all of them are capable of reaching the final.



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see also
South America dominate last eight
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Argentine journalists on Maradona
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Biesla praises 'superior' Brazil
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Maradona talks up Argentina hopes
27 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
South American teams set standard
24 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tabarez hails mature performance
26 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010


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