South American football is great! Yes, it is South American football, and not only the championships of Argentina and Brazil that are quite popular all over the world. Each, even the smallest country, gave world football great players, excellent coaches, and the national team could easily have spoiled the nerves of eternal favorites.
Realizing all the colorfulness and diversity of Latin American football, the president of the Chilean Football Confederation, and concurrently the president of the mid-40s СONMEBOL, Louise Hermosila, decided to find out which team could be considered the strongest on the continent. In addition, the first steps in this direction have already been made. Since 1913, the champions of Argentina and Uruguay have played the Ricardo Aldão Cup, or simply the Rio de la Plata Cup. Between them, by the way, some other story is connected with this cup which will more honestly show the desire of Hermosila to organize this СONMEBOL tournament. The fact is that the grand Chilean football “Colo-Colo” for many years tried to break into the Cup of Rio de la Plata, but all attempts were in vain. And precisely because of such a failure, the president of Colo-Colo whispered the idea of “his own” tournament to Hermosile. For example, Deportivo Municipal in the championship of Peru football team took the second place, but went to the Cup, due to the fact that the champion of the country Atlitico Halakho refused to participate.
In Brazil, there were state championships in general, and Vascu claimed the right to participate in the Cup along with Palmeiras, but since Vascu had the backbone of the Brazilian team they preferred it. The tournament itself was held in Chile in one circle. For Colo-Colo, the host and, if I may say so, the “ideological mastermind”, the tournament ended in complete failure. Having scored only 6 points, Chileans took the 5th place in the standings. Serious blow to ambitions! But Vaska da Gama and his brilliant stars had wonderful games and, gaining 10 points (4 wins + 2 draws) became the first champions. By the way, unlike his club, the city of Santiago received great financial advantages from holding this tournament. Then there was silence. It was exactly 10 years no movement in the direction of organizing a new tournament. Chileans got theirs and left the stage. In Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay there were powerful championships and it would be too brave to expect moves from other countries.
The beginning of a new era: Brazil football
But the movement began in 1958. The whole world of South American football, headed by the President of the Brazilian Federation, Joao Havelange, gathered at the congress in Rio de Janeiro. Also arrived and the head of UEFA, Henri Delon. On the agenda was the question of creating a tournament in which a European champion (read the owner of KECh) could fight with the South American champion. There was only one little problem. After 1948, there was not a single major international club tournament in South America.
Therefore, the president of СONMEBOL, Jose Ramos de Freitas, put forward a proposal to create such a tournament. Now we need to make a small remark to explain the situation in South American football at that time. All these congresses were like meetings of the Roman Senate. There were very important people in the senate, the opinions of which were listened to by others less important. And when it came to voting, many small people looked at how their “leader” would vote. Exactly the same “leaders” were in football. In South America, these were Argentina football and Uruguay team. Brazil, in spite of the just won World Cup, did not have such weight as neighbors. Therefore, in order to promote his idea, Freitas needed to get support from one of the whales. And Argentina gave a helping hand! Uruguay was categorically against such tournaments. The main argument of the Uruguayans was the opinion that such competitions would prevent full-fledged preparation of the teams for Copa America (the organizers of which, in fact, were the Uruguayans). As a result, the consideration of this issue was postponed to the next congress. In 1959, at a congress in Buenos Aires, Chilean delegates began to insist on a decision. As a result, all delegates voted for the pro lobbied by Argentina, Brazil and Chile, except for Uruguay.
Thus, a historic decision was made on March 5, 1959; it was the birthday of a new tournament, which was named in honor of the historical heroes of Latin America at the head of Bolivar – Copa Libertadores. This was the last achievement of Freitas. At the end of the year, he lost his seat to the new president, СONMEBOL, to Uruguay, Sörhute Fermin. Do you remember what Uruguay voted for?
There one person should be mentioned: president Penarola Washington Cataldi. He saw the prospect of this cup, and as they say, it was Cataldi who first convinced Fermina, and then all the authorities of Uruguay, that the participation of their clubs in such a tournament was worthwhile. As a result, in Montevideo, a plan was drawn up for holding the first Cop Libertadores with seven participants, champions who agreed to take part. Here are the heroes: San Lorenzo (Argentina), Jorge Wilstermann (Bolivia), Bahia (Brazil), Millionarios (Colombia), Olympia (Paraguay), Penarol (Uruguay), Universidad de Chile (Chile). Like in Brazil the national championship was not held, the Baya club took part in the tournament, as the winner of the national cup.The tournament itself was held in three stages.
In the final, Peñarol was confronted by the powerful Olympia from Asuncion. On June 12, 1960, 50,000 spectators watched as their pets drove Paraguayans across the lawn. Olympia fought back for a very long time, and it took only 11 minutes to bring such an important draw home. On the 79th minute, Spencer could still break through the Olympians’ monolithic defense. But, after all, not a gift of Olympia is considered the grandee of South American football. A week later, at home, at his 28-minute stadium, Ippolito Recalde led the hosts ahead. Now it is the turn of Olympia to “carry” his rival. The constant attacks of Paraguayans lasted up to 83 minutes. Luis Cubilla in one of the few counterattacks punished Olympia for his sluggishness in defense. Thus, the first owner of the Cop Libertadores became Uruguayan Montevideo! And the top scorer of the tournament with 7 goals forward Penarolya Alberto Spencer.
How football in Europe is different from football in South America
In the dispute between Europe and South America in recent years, something deeper has appeared – a logic that is accessible even to a person with radical views. Previously, each team was unique, from the historically established scheme to the rare positions peculiar only to this country, then due to football globalization and the frequent assignment of foreigners to the national borders, they were smeared. But the identity of the continents has become only more noticeable due to changes in the structure of the academies of most European countries.
A trend a year and a half ago, Arsen Wenger coolly summarized: “Only one continent is training clean forwards now – South America. Perhaps the fact is that in Europe there is no more street football. In street football, 10-year-olds have to fight 15-year-olds, which causes them to be more impudent and cunning, to prove their class once more and to fight for balls that cannot be won. It seems that we, as a continent, have lost this football sparkle.”
The same idea about the changes in the preparation of the defenders was developed by Gary Neville: “The coaches of the old school spent 60-70% of their time working exclusively on defense. Above how the leg is correctly set, how the hips should be positioned, how often you have to turn your head to avoid unnecessary focus on the ball. For this reason, I started my career with a solid defense base. Now players start a career with a good technical base and only then begin to learn the game in defense. My generation has completed careers in the area of 2010, and it looks like we were the last of the number of defenders who were trained to defend in the first place. Since then, the focus of trainers has shifted towards technology. People from academies of various European teams confirmed this to me. Now the technical base and the game in the attack make up 80% of the programs and only 20% are working on defensive skills. ”
Those who are now being trained in Europe with a minimum difference on almost any role, described coolly Xabi Alonso: “The Spanish player’s prototype is a player who loves to own the ball, understands the game, likes to interact with other players and is devoid of playful selfishness.” In a global sense, it is already possible to put a “European” in the place of “Spanish” in this thesis. The trend is easily confirmed by examples. Otamendi, Garay, Funes Mori, Jimenez, Godin, Murillo are clearly defenders with the priority of the game in defense and mediocre against Boateng, Ramos or Bonucci pas. The most productive net forwards of the Euro season are Suarez and Higuain (a number of their pursuers are Europeans who have passed by traditional academies such as Vardi or Ibrahimovic).
World Football Championship was born in South America: features of every country (Mexico football, etc.)
It is enough to recall this in order to realize how invaluable is the contribution of the continent to the history of tournaments of the highest rank. Not to mention world football in general, which the South Americans have enriched with their distinctive, inspirational, passionate and artistic game style. Entered into sports vocabulary called the Latin School, South American football in every era gave out whole constellations of brilliant performers, true ball virtuosos who became the creators of the glorious chronicle of this wonderful game. We know their names: José Nazaztsi, José Andrade, Héctor Scarone, Juan Schiaffino, José Santamaria, Argentines Guillermo Scarone, Luis Monti, Omar Sivori, Alfredo di Stefano, Mario Kempes, Diego Maradona, finally Santos, Garrincha, Zagalo, Amarildo, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao, Rivellinho, Socrates, Zico and, of course, the best football player of all time, King Pele.
World Cup was born in Uruguay. In 1930, the first draw of the Goddess Nike Cup was held in this small South American country with the participation of thirteen national teams. Over the past seven decades, 16 world championships have been held. Eight times the highest title was won by representatives of South America. Account victories opened Uruguayans in the first tournament in their homeland. In 1950, they once again climbed the football Olympus. The same time the victory was celebrated by Argentines. Brazil national team has the title of four-time world champion. Only she participated in all sixteen previous tournaments. The upcoming will be for her 17th in a row. Together with her in Korea and Japan, the prestige of the continent will be defended by teams of Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Uruguay. With such a composition, South America has never before been represented at world championships. The explanation is simple. Ecuadorian footballers will debut at this level. It was they who presented the biggest sensation of the qualifying stage in their region, taking the fourth qualifying place in the final table. And the Uruguay national team (it is experiencing not the best of its times) with great difficulty caught on the fifth position and won the right to play in two butt matches with the best team in Oceania – the Australian team. In Melbourne, the South Americans lost with a score of 0: 1, but took a convincing revenge in Montevideo – 3: 0.
In South America they want to revive the Intercontinental Cup in football
The South American Confederation of Football (СONMEBOL) intends to revive the draw of the Intercontinental Cup. This was stated by President of СONMEBOL Alejandro Dominguez. “We are negotiating with UEFA that the winners of the Champions League will meet again with the teams that won the Libertadores Cup. The match will take place on a neutral field. I do not rule out that in China,” said Dominguez. The Intercontinental Cup began to be held by UEFA and CONMEBOL since 1960, and until 1979, the teams played each other twice. After that, one match began in Japan. Since 2000, the tournament has been held under the auspices of FIFA, and in 2005 it was ousted by the club world championship.