Sports June 2014

Soccer 2014 World Cup in Brazil

The Soccer 2014 World Cup in Brazil promises to be known as the “Latino World.” The statistics show that exactly half of the teams in the 20th edition of the competition organized by FIFA come from countries that can be considered as Latinos.

The definition that we use of a Latin country can’t be found in any dictionary. It’s simply based on tradition. It’s the following: ” A Latino country is one where a language derived from Latin is spoken by a predominant percentage of the population.” Thus, we have Latin American, Latin European, Latin African countries and even Latin Oceanic countries (East Timor).

As is commonly accepted, in North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean (or the Antilles) there are 21 Latin nations, including Puerto Rico, although this is not an independent country.

Whereas in Europe we have Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Romania. Although in Belgium and Switzerland languages whose roots comes from Latin, the speakers of these languages are not the majority of their respective total populations.

As for Africa, there are Spanish-speaking countries (Equatorial Guinea), Portuguese-speaking (Angola, Mozambique, etc.) and Francophone (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, etc.).

Now back to the World Cup itself. Since the current system of participation of 32 teams in the World Cup was established, starting with the World Cup in France in 1998, the percentage of Latino countries in these competitions has fluctuated between 41 and 44 percent. As stated earlier, in 2014 Brazil it reached the historic point of 50 percent. No doubt the fact that Brazil is the host nation, whose classification is automatic, has contributed to this achievement. But we can’t ignore the quality shown by Latino countries during the qualifying stage. 

After all, Uruguay is a world soccer powerhouse and won comfortably in the play-off against Jordan. Meanwhile in the Old World, all Latino Mediterranean countries, accomplished their move to the final. We are talking here also about powerhouses of the stature of Spain, Italy and France, which together have accumulated six world titles of the 19 that have been in dispute to date. A fourth Euro-Latin nation, Portugal, also exceeded the knockout stage. This Iberian country, although it is at an inferior level, in technical terms, than the Mediterranean’s, has Cristiano Ronaldo, a very dangerous player for opponents goalkeepers, in its ranks. The only Euro-Latino country that could not advance to the “carioca” final was Romania, which fell against Greece in the playoff.

The Afro-Latino countries that qualified for the World Cup in Brazil are Ivory Coast, Algeria and Cameroon, which, coincidentally, are the same Afro-Latin nations that qualified for the previous world cup, South Africa 2010.

In incredible form, the five-time world champion, the Brazilian team, lags behind three other Latin American countries in the table compiled by FIFA prior to the World Cup. Brazil occupies the eleventh place, trailing Argentina (third), Colombia (fourth) and Uruguay (sixth). The Brazilian squad is ahead only of the Chilean (twelfth) and the Ecuadorian (twenty-second).

Whatever the fate of the 16 Latin countries taking part in the World Cup in Brazil, one thing is for sure: from June 12, 2014 on, fans of the participating Latino teams in the tourney will be glued to their TV screens. The author of this article Miguel Balbuena has created a statistical table. If you want to see it in html (click in here to view it). If you would like to download it in pdf (click in here to view it).  

About the author:  Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields (in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

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