Confederations Cup: The Shattered Myth of Western European Supremacy
As we await the Confederations Cup final today involving our beloved boys where the US Soccer Crest and the Nike striped kit, let’s reflect on what this tournament has taught us. As I had suspected when South Africa was announced as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup (after being bribed out of hosting the 2006 World Cup)Western European national teams will have a difficult time acclimating themselves to the conditions.
Smaller pitch sizes, cold weather, and altitude as well as the traditional trouble European national teams have when traveling outside their comfort zones led me to believe that this World Cup would be won almost certainly by someone from outside of Europe. I have already gone on record predicting a Korea/Japan like tournament for European nations.
Playing outside of Europe opens up the field for African, Asian and even CONCACAF nations to be competitive. This Confederations Cup have seen European heavyweights lose to the likes of Egypt and the USA, while Brazil in style routed Italy the world champions. Spain the European champion also struggled in matches against Iraq and South Africa before bowing out in a loss to the USA.
In both 1994 and 2002 the better European teams with one or two exceptions tended to come from Eastern Europe (or Turkey in 2002). Whereas in 1998 and 2006, Western European powers essentially dominated the events. This Confederations Cup has reinforced my long standing belief that despite the hype coming from the euro centric English language football media, the odds on a European winner next summer are long indeed.
For extensive coverage of the Confederations Cup please visit Major League Soccer Talk.