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Germany end South American hoodoo

Published: Sunday 13 July 2014, 23.41CET
Germany have become the first European team to win a FIFA World Cup in South America. We look back at the four previous attempts and how fortunes changed in Brazil.
by Paul Saffer

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Published: Sunday 13 July 2014, 23.41CET

Germany end South American hoodoo

Germany have become the first European team to win a FIFA World Cup in South America. We look back at the four previous attempts and how fortunes changed in Brazil.

No European team had ever won a FIFA World Cup in South America before tonight as Germany made it five years running. UEFA.com looks at those tournaments.

Germany/West Germany's record outside Europe:
Uruguay 1930: Did not enter
Brazil 1950: Did not enter
Chile 1962: Quarter-finals
Mexico 1970: Third place
Argentina 1978: Second group stage
Mexico 1986: Runners-up
United States 1994: Quarter-finals
Korea/Japan 2002: Runners-up
South Africa 2010: Third place
Brazil 2014: Winners

©Getty Images

West Germany line up against Italy in 1962

Uruguay 1930
Travelling to Uruguay was still logistically challenging for Europeans in 1930; Germany did not enter and only with two months to go to the event did Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania ensure some representation – the latter at the personal request of King Carol II. Indeed, the squads from Belgium, France and Romania, the three European referees, FIFA president Jules Rimet and what was to become in 1946 his eponymous trophy all sailed together to South America.

France beat Mexico 4-1 in one of two simultaneous opening games, but they would lose 1-0 to both Argentina and Chile. Romania also started with a win, 3-1 against Peru, but fell 4-0 against Uruguay while Belgium were defeated by both the United States and Paraguay. Yugoslavia fared better, seeing off Brazil 2-1 and Bolivia 4-0 to make the semi-finals, until Uruguay put them out 6-1.

Brazil 1950
This time Europe supplied six of 13 finalists, and would have had more had Scotland, Turkey, Portugal and France chosen not to compete, while Germany were excluded. Overall in the group stage European teams won six and drew two of ten group meetings with non-UEFA nations, though one of the two defeats lives in infamy for one country, England's 1-0 loss to the US in Belo Horizonte (where Roy Hodgson's side face Costa Rica this time).

Both Sweden and Spain topped their groups to progress to a unique four-sided final pool – here, Spain managed just a 2-2 draw with Uruguay and conceded bronze to Sweden, who beat them 3-1 after two reverses to Uruguay and Brazil.

Chile 1962
Ten of the 16 contenders were from Europe and provided six of the last eight. However, in the knockouts European teams drew a blank against South American opposition as Brazil and Chile knocked out England and the Soviet Union respectively in the quarters.

Czechoslovakia, who did not overcome a non-European side in the competition, defeated Hungary and Yugoslavia to advance to the final but there lost 3-1 to Brazil. West Germany reached the quarter-finals, beating hosts Chile to top their group but then falling 1-0 to Yugoslavia.

Argentina 1978
Again ten European teams crossed the Atlantic, and five progressed past the initial group stage, including holders West Germany, who beat Mexico 6-0 either side of drawing 0-0 with Poland and Tunisia. A UEFA finalist was then guaranteed as Group A in the second round contained four sides from the old continent, the Netherlands finishing first. West Germany were third however, drawing 0-0 again with Italy, leading the Dutch twice but finishing 2-2 and losing 3-2 to Austria to miss out on the third-place play-off.

Poland came third in their section behind Argentina, who were at least taken to extra time by the Dutch in the final. Nine years later a European country did win a global title in South America, Yugoslavia lifting the 1987 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Chile with the other medallists West and East Germany.

Brazil 2014
Before the tournament, UEFA's chief technical offier Ioan Lupescu told UEFA.com: "Two European teams contested the last World Cup final which took place outside Europe so I think that particular 'mental block' has now been removed and going to a different continent does not hold the uncertainties that it maybe once did – even South America."

So it proved for Germany as while the other 12 contenders fell by the wayside, albeit the Netherlands only on penalties to Argentina in the semi-finals. Germany started by beating Portugal 4-0 on their way to topping their group, needed extra time to see off Algeria, defeated France 1-0, stunned hosts Brazil 7-1 then Mario Götze's extra-time goal settled the final with Argentina.

Last updated: 14/07/14 1.52CET

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