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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Constants of the FIFA World Cup

Por Jack Leyva

Since the FIFA World Cup Italy 1990, only five teams have made it through the last eight final phases of soccer’s most important tournament on the planet. For example, throughout this twenty-eight years, France and Italy have won, in 1998 and 2006 respectively, but they have failed to maintain their selections attending the Championship.

The list of the teams attending the Tournament since the year of 1990 starts with Brazil, who has won twice, in 1994 and 2002 but has bitter memories from 1998 and 2014. They lost in France 3-0 against the hosts while Ronaldo suffered a mysterious panic attack or an epilepsy crisis. The Cup of 2014 would prove to be even more humiliating for the team, with a 7-1 score against Germany, who will take their win home. Since 1990, Brazil has either won the Cup or has lost against the team that will eventually win or at least get to the finale.

Next in the exclusive list is Germany, who not only has participated in all the editions of the tournament since 1990 until today but has also been a winner for five times. They won in Italy’s version, twenty-eight years ago. In the year of 2002 they lost in the finale against Brazil, while in 2006 and 2010 were eliminated in the semifinals, achieving nevertheless the third place in both Cups. In the year 2014 they would be victors again and only in the years of 1994 and 1998 they were not included among the first four of the planet.

South Korea, a selection that has always attended the FIFA World Cup since the year of 1990, might be a surprise for all. The Asians are not a team followed by media, but they have managed to be in every tournament since the year of 1990 even though in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2014 they did not make it to the group phase. Their most memorable performance was in the year of 2002, when they hosted the Cup along with Japan, and ended up in fourth place, even though this achievement will always be tainted by the intervention of the referee Gamal Al-Ghandour, whose bad decisions against the Iberians forced the definition of the game by penalties giving the South Korean team the chance to advance to semifinals.

It is precisely Spain who is also in this very exclusive list of the always attending teams since 1990, most of the times with very mediocre performances. However, in the year of 2010, they got to raise the victory Cup in South Africa, when Iniesta had his unforgettable goal against The Netherlands.

Last of the list is Argentina, a team that, after winning their championship in 1986, has been having a series of losses and can’t seem to find their victory streak. In the year of 2014, they lost the opportunity of winning against Germany, who also defeated them in 1990. They brought very competitive teams to the other FIFA World Cups but ended up disappointing everyone at the end.