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Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 13:07 UK

World Cup 2010: Michel Platini hails European success

Dutch fans celebrate the win over Brazil

Your World Cup semi-finalists

Uefa president Michel Platini believes the progress of three European teams to the World Cup semi-finals "represents a victory for the beautiful game".

He said of the Netherlands, Germany and Spain: "The three nations who have won the most youth events over the past 10 years are now in the final four.

"Can all of this be put down to mere good luck? I don't think so.

"We are witnessing a triumph for technical education programmes, sound management and good governance."

With Argentina , Brazil , Paraguay and Uruguay all reaching the quarter-finals, there were suggestions that the tournament had been dominated by the South American nations.

However, Brazil then fell to the Netherlands , Argentina were thrashed by Germany and Paraguay succumbed to Spain , raising the chances of a European side winning a World Cup staged outside their own continent for the first time.

The challenge was enormous - and the South African people have risen to this challenge. The first World Cup staged on the African continent has been a resounding success

Michel Platini

The Dutch take on Uruguay in Cape Town on Tuesday before Germany and Spain meet in Durban on Wednesday, with the two winners doing battle in Johannesburg on Sunday 11 July.

"Nothing could be more pleasing than this state of affairs," enthused Platini, head of European football's governing body.

"Three teams with youth and freshness at their heart, deploying playing systems that leave considerable room for creativity.

"Germany, winners of the 2009 European Under-21 Championship; the Netherlands, who won the previous Under-21 title in 2007; and Spain, successive winners on four occasions of Uefa's Maurice Burlaz Trophy, awarded to the national association with the best results in Uefa's youth competitions.

"This not only makes me happy - three great football nations can also derive pleasure. Above all, it is just reward for the long-term efforts of three associations who have invested in education and training.

"A model policy which could, for the first time in football history, enable a European team to win a World Cup staged outside our continent."

606: DEBATE

Platini reserved special mention for tournament hosts South Africa and their supporters, who rallied around Ghana - the only African nation to advance past the group stage - once their own team had been eliminated.

"The challenge was enormous - and the South African people have risen to this challenge," said the Frenchman. "The first World Cup staged on the African continent has been a resounding success.

"As the matches and events passed by, the organisation got into its stride, the wheels quickly clicked into gear and the extraordinary kindness and innate sense of hospitality and pride of an entire people have done the rest.

"The South Africans showed an extraordinary capacity to overcome their initial grief after the elimination of the Bafana Bafana before going on to identify with all of their continent.

"Over the course of the matches, with their satisfactions and disappointments, they have shared joy with all those taking part in this great football festival - and have shown a remarkable measure of respect for everything and everyone. I can only congratulate them on this."



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see also
Spain have several Messis - Loew
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dutch warned against complacency
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
African World Cup 'is a success'
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Maradona blasts Pele and Platini
16 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Uefa threatens spendthrift clubs
27 May 10 |  Europe
Platini aims to stay as Uefa boss
25 Mar 10 |  Football


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