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Sports

South America dominates at World Cup

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 06:52 AM
RIO DE JANEIRO -

Across South America, soccer fans are feeling the joy of victory - spiked with a twist of revenge.

The continent's teams have dominated at World Cup 2010.

Of its five nations in the field of 32 on Opening Day, four are still alive headed to the quarterfinals: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Just Chile - the only South American team to lose in the tournament - has been eliminated. And the Chileans fell in the second round to Brazil.

After watching her nation's best players develop at home and then leave for big contracts in European leagues, the past couple of weeks have been sweet for Brazilian fan Rosangela Pereira.

"We know our players go abroad for the money - but we miss them!" Pereira said Tuesday while watching Paraguay's win against Japan on Copacabana beach. "When it's time for the cup, our hearts burst and the crowds vibrate, seeing our boys come home, playing for their flag."

The continent's fans have had a lot to cheer about.

Going into the quarterfinals, South American teams have 10 wins, four draws and two losses (Chile also lost to Spain in group play).

Europe, on the other hand, had only six of its 13 teams advance to the second round, and will have only three teams in the quarters. European teams went 15-10-14 in group play, and traditional powerhouses Italy and France failed to make it out of their groups.

There are several popular explanations for the South Americans' success.

Some have speculated that their tough qualifying road helps once they get to the World Cup. Unlike in Europe, where Spain could get a group that includes, for example, Faeroe Islands and Moldova, there's one big group in South America and few "easy" teams.

Also, while top players do go to Europe, there are good domestic leagues in South America where players can develop, making for deep national rosters.

Twenty-two-year-old Eduardo Brasil knows the real secret to his nation's many victories.

"It's in our veins, we are born knowing how to play. Look at those boys over there," he said, motioning to a group of three young kids kicking a ball around on Copacabana beach during Paraguay's match. "Europe comes and robs kids as young as 14. But they always come back for the cup."

MEXICO: Javier Aguirre has quit as Mexico coach, three days after his side was knocked out after a 3-1 loss to Argentina in the round of 16.

NIGERIA: The president of Nigeria has suspended the national soccer team from international competition for two years after its poor showing at the World Cup.

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