first_imgMOSCOW (AP): The World Cup is staying in Europe, and it’s not even a close race. All four semi-finalists at this year’s tournament in Russia will be European. The most powerful continent in world football is also assured of having its fourth straight title winner from a fourth different country. Europe’s overwhelming dominance in club football – fueled by wealth to hire the best global talents – is also playing out on the World Cup stage. South America’s last hopes at the tournament were eliminated yesterday in the first two quarter-final games. Brazil, the last non-European title winner in 2002, were beaten by Belgium 2-1, and Uruguay lost to France 2-0. The all-European final foursome will be completed today: England play Sweden and Russia face Croatia in the other two quarter-final matches. Asked yesterday about Europe’s strength, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said “reality from a financial point of view, from a historical point of view” could not be ignored. “Don’t ask me something that is self-evident,” said the veteran coach, who led Uruguay to the semifinals in 2010. Back then, Uruguay were eliminated by the Netherlands, who lost to Spain in the final. Europe’s winning run began with Italy in 2006, Spain followed four years later, and Germany took over in 2014. A title for France or England in Moscow on July 15 would keep the glory within a closed circle of countries whose national teams, domestic leagues and television markets are known as Europe’s ‘Big Five’: Spain, Italy and Germany are the others. They are home to the richest and most storied clubs, attract the most valuable broadcast deals worldwide, and place most teams in the Champions League. The five will have 19 of the 32 places next season.last_img read more

Posted in cnflqjnk