Why are Europeans better at football?

Europe's dominance frustrates South American superstars

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin is not surprised by the success of European teams at the World Cup. It doesn't surprise him that four teams from Europe are fighting for a place in the final in the semifinals, he said on Monday during a visit to Latvia.

"Football in Europe is organized differently. There is more infrastructure, more technical staff. We work very differently and the difference is getting bigger every year," said Ceferin at a press conference in Riga.

This European World Cup final will be a premiere. No matter who prevails in the semi-finals France against Belgium and England against Croatia - the duel has never been the big highlight for the title.

After the title candidates from Germany to Brazil and Argentina to Spain at the World Cup of Surprises in Russia, the long-standing great powers now have to be careful that the triumph of the new football Europe does not lead to a turning point.

After the premature bankruptcy of the German team, many fans followed the final phase of the tournament with a mixture of frustration and uncertainty.

"Compact and well organized"

"Whoever were the favorites to win, the big teams, they are at home," said Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic about the constellation at this World Cup.

"The teams that work hard, that are compact, that are united and well organized, are still here in Russia. And that is the character of the remaining teams."

As the 1998 world champion, France was still the most established of the four semi-finalists, but since 2006 has had to wait to make it into the top four in the world.

For England it is the first jump into the semi-finals in 28 years. Belgium (1986) and Croatia (1998) managed to do this only once.

For the fifth time in the history of the World Cup, the Europeans are completely among themselves in the semi-finals, previously this was the case in 2006, 1982, 1966 and 1934. This means that the fourth world champion in a row comes from Europe. "This is maybe a small revolution and shows that the European teams have developed further," said France striker Olivier Giroud.

The South American representatives experienced their worst tournament since 2006, failing in the preliminary round (Peru), round of 16 (Argentina / Colombia) and quarter-finals (Brazil / Uruguay).

Champions League as a source of money

"The truth from a financial and historical point of view" cannot be ignored, said Uruguay's coach Oscar Tabarez after the 2-0 defeat by France about the reasons.

"Don't ask me anything that goes without saying." Eight years ago, Uruguay was the only South American team to make it to the semi-finals, but ultimately lost the game for third place against Germany.

From the perspective of outsiders from Africa, Asia and America, the dominance of the European leagues through the billions in revenue in the Champions League also fuels an imbalance on the world stage.

"My opinion after 37 years in the business is that it is clear: the gap is big and it continues to grow and will continue to grow, World Cup after World Cup," said Iran coach Carlos Queiroz about the differences between the continents. The French "L'Équipe" headed its analysis of dominance "Europe to the Urals".

Only three additional places

14 of the 32 participants in the World Cup came from Europe (44 percent). This proportion increased from the round of 16 (62) to the quarter-finals (75) to the semi-finals that became the EM. In the distribution of the starting places, however, the other continents also see an opportunity to curb their supremacy somewhat in the future.

If the 2026 World Cup is played with 48 teams at the latest, UEFA will only get three additional starting places. But even 29 percent can end up being 100. (dpa)