5 Jul 2010

Europe recaptures World Cup dominance

7:13 am on 5 July 2010

The football World Cup pendulum has swung back in Europe's favour after the South American teams collectively lost their nerve in the quarter-finals.

Only a few days ago, pundits were trying to work out why the South Americans were so dominant in South Africa after four of the continent's five teams made it through to the quarter-finals, compared with just three out of 13 European sides.

Now, the talk is of what went wrong after three of them -- including favourites Brazil and Argentina -- were knocked out, leaving tiny Uruguay as the region's only hope.

One explanation may be that the teams simply could not handle the pressure which is arguably greater than for their European counterparts.

However many feel the Brazilian and Argentinean meltdowns were a reflection on their coaches.

The Brazil coach Dunga, instead of providing a calming influence, was a picture of uncontrolled rage as he ranted against refereeing decisions from the touchline.

Like Brazil, the Argentines had an inexperienced and temperamental coach in Diego Maradona when they could have done with a leader with a cool head.