A European nation is set to win the World Cup for the fourth time in a row this Sunday and in doing so confirm an unprecedented dominance for the Old World over their once mighty rivals in South America.
Whether France or Croatia lift the trophy in Moscow, it will guarantee a minimum 20-year drought for South American sides.
Until this streak, European teams had never won more than two World Cups in a row and that was back in 1934 and 1938. Confirming the hegemony, only one of the last eight finalists (Argentina in 2014) have come from Latin America.
There are many possible reasons behind the Europeans’ superiority and some even recommend caution.
Although Argentina and Peru were disappointing, Brazil outplayed Belgium for much of their quarter-final defeat, both Uruguay and Colombia did well until being knocked out without their most influential player, and Colombia were even eliminated in a penalty shootout that could easily have gone their way.
“It’s seven matches in one month, a short event – you can make too much out of it,” Andy Roxburgh, a member of FIFA’s technical study group, told reporters in Moscow. “You have to look at the bigger picture over time to see if there is a trend.”