This question comes to mind when looking at recent club football or international level events. There is also logic. In recent times, European teams have been competing in domestic and international football events, while Latin American teams have not been able to compete at the World Cup, as well as in international events, with the exception of a handful of teams. However, it should not be forgotten that this South American artistic football has added a new dimension to world football for a while.
Football was introduced in South America in the late nineteenth century. The journey of football in Latin America began with the hands of some Europeans in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The first football club, the Buenos Aires Football Club, was formed by the Europeans in the 18th century. Since then, clubs like Riverplate and Boca Juniors have sprung up. In 1893, the first official domestic event was held in Argentina. Then there are legends like Maradona-Passarella, Mascherano-Tevez or Messi. And now footballers like Dibala-Martinez-Romero are showing their talents and representing Albiceleste.
Within a few decades of the introduction of football in Argentina, the introduction of football also began in Brazil. Presumably, Brazil is the second Latin American country to introduce football. Charles Miller, an English footballer, was introduced to playing football in So Paulo in 1894. Since then, this football has been mixed with the blood of the Selecao. In Brazil, football was introduced in schools as well as in gyms as a child. Football also plays an important role in their socio-economic condition. A large section of financially indigent families choose football as a career-building profession. Currently, more than 16,000 Brazilian footballers are playing around the world.
Numerous legends have been seen in Brazil in different generations. Legends such as the Pel-Garrinchas emerged here in the early days of global football’s popularity. Later, the football world got to see stars like Romario-Ronaldo-Carlos. Since 1995, the footballing style of talented footballers like Ronaldinho-Kakar has brought the Selecao to world football. These legends used to entertain the world in aesthetic football exhibitions. And that baton is now held by stars like Neymar-Casimiro-Allison. Such a pool of talented footballers is rare not only in South America, but all over the world. The record for most World Cup wins so far proves it.
This spread of football gradually spread to other South American countries such as Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay. At one stage, countries began to organize continental tournaments beyond the boundaries of domestic football. In 1918, for the first time in football history, these South American countries jointly hosted a continental tournament, now known as the Copa America. The Libertadores Cup has also been held annually since 1980 with the domestic league teams of the countries.
Domestic football tournaments in Europe began with the English and Scots. Later, a number of Scottish professional footballers came to English domestic football, through which the English were introduced to the new style of football. The new passing and ball-playing skills of these Scots brought a new dimension to English football. The English played an important role in the development of domestic football until the Second World War.
The spread of football transcends the boundaries of the United Kingdom and continues to grow rapidly among other European countries. At one stage teams like Italy, Hungary, Switzerland became rivals of the English. The Italians in particular began to dominate the football world by recruiting talented footballers from South America, such as Raimundo Orsi and Enrique Guetta.
Raimundo Orsi was one of the earliest footballers in the history of Italian football; Image Source: championat.asia
The Azzurri were at the top in terms of inclusion of many top foreign footballers in domestic league teams, such as Welsh footballer John Charles, in domestic football in the ’70s. And in this way they gradually move their position upwards.
Meanwhile, after the Second World War, the English lost some of their dominance. They lost to the United States in the 1950 World Cup final. Three years later, they lost 6-3 to Hungary and 6-1 to the same team the following year. From then on, they started judging and analyzing the strategic issues. It was from this time that the English began to adopt dynamic attacking as a tactic in football.
In addition to the infrastructural development in domestic football, the diversity of the type of game has brought European teams one success after another in recent times. In this case, breaking the old tradition of tick-tock or possession football, the European teams are adopting counter-attacking and dynamic football as the main tactics. And they are getting the benefits well. Teams like Belgium, Germany, France are using these tactics to defeat the opposition. And this diverse football has become the center of attraction for the spectators.
In recent times, football fans have been talking about events such as the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the French Ligue 1 or the German domestic Bundesliga. It is mainly the competitive football of the venues that has increased this attraction.
Let’s talk about the English league. The title has changed hands eight times in the last ten seasons of this event. In the last ten seasons, big cities like Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea as well as relatively ‘unknown’ teams like Leicester City have tasted the title.
This competition between European teams is not very common in South America. It goes without saying that there are not enough teams to compete here except for a few. This becomes clear when looking at continental tournaments. In Europe, where medium-sized teams like Sweden or Denmark often fight in the eyes of superpowers like France-Germany, teams like Peru-Ecuador are constantly undermined by Selecao-Albiceleste.
This gap between the two continents became clearer at the World Games. For the past 15 years, Latin Americans have dominated the World Cup, while Latin Americans have never won a title. Looking at the last five World Cups, all four of them have won in Europe, the other in Latin America – nineteen years ago.
In the light of all this, the question arises again, is South American aesthetic football slowly losing to European football?