Updated June. 13, 2014 06:26
This years World Cup has opened in Brazil. Soccer powerhouses in Latin America, including the host country Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and traditional strongholds in Europe including Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, Germany, Italy and England, are all aspiring to win the title. In the history of the World Cup, unexpected dark horses would gave a surprise by making it through the semifinals. Korea was one such case at the 2002 World Cup Korea-Japan. It was Croatia at the 1998 France World Cup, and Bulgaria at the 1994 U.S. World Cup that advanced to the semifinals. However, that was the end of their advances. God has only granted a World Cup trophy to eight countries in the world. During the past 19 World Cup events, out of more than 200 countries worldwide, Brazil had most wins with five, followed by Italy with four, Germany with three, Argentina and Uruguay with two each, and England, France, and Spain. Only the strongest teams are allowed to envision the championship.
The tradition of winners emerging from the continent of the host country remains intact as time-honored tradition of the World Cup. Including the U.S. in 1994, Korea and Japan in 2002, and South Africa in 2010, the host countries are mostly Europe versus non-Europe. Thus far, when Europe plays host to the event, a European nation won the cup; when a non-European nation hosts, a non-European country such as a Latin American state clinched the title. There are two exceptions, including Brazil that won the title at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, and Spain that clinched the trophy at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The World Cup is an event in which the host enjoys clear advantages. Thus far, the only case that the host failed to advance to the second round at the World Cup finals was the 2010 event in South Africa. Many of the host countries have won the championship as well. Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), West Germany (1954), England (1966), Argentina (1978), and France (1998) all won the title in their homeland.
Analysts say that chances are high Brazil will clinch the trophy this year in light of such historical tradition. Brazil is the greatest team of all time in the history of the World Cup. It is the only country in the world that participated in all the World Cups from the 1930 Uruguay World Cup to the 2010 South Africa World Cup. Brazil won the title at two consecutive events in 1958 and 1962, and garnered the top spot again in 1970, becoming the permanent owner of the Jules Rimet Cup, the first trophy of the World Cup. Back then, Pele, the emperor of soccer, was a member of the team. Brazil achieved the feat of wining four World Cup titles for the first time at the U.S. event by banking on its top scorer Romario de Souza Faria. At the 2002 World Cup Korea-Japan, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a flurry of goals to grant the Latin American nation a fifth win.
However, European teams, including Italy with four wins in total, are poised to stage powerful counterattacks. Italy will endeavor to gain the top spot by banking on its famed defensive soccer of "catenaccio" once again, while Spain, the winner of the previous event, will do so by resorting to its unique pass soccer. Germany will pursue its first title in 24 years since the 1990 Italy World Cup by combining its traditional power and strength with Spanish style "technical soccer."