European Football Vs. South American Football: Which Is The Greatest

When looking at the general picture of the origins and history of football, it’s undoubtedly had the most profound impact and evolution in South America and Europe. Both of these continents have a lengthy history with the sport, dating back decades and centuries.

The football teams that come from these countries compete at an international level, with all-star players rising and playing in some of the most famous and best football teams around the world. 

It’s normal when you have players competing in a world-renown sport to have some sort of healthy competition. An age-old debate is, which style of playing football is better, South American or European? Let’s dive deeper into this subject, and see whether we can find an answer to this question. 

How Are The Two Different?

Maybe the biggest difference between the two sports is the way young talent trains and is found by coaches. It’s not uncommon for undiscovered football talent in South America can be found playing on the streets in a relatively unorganized manner.

But this also has benefits and allows the young players to express themselves creatively and find their style of play. This, however, might not have the best effect in terms of long-term talent development. 

But when the talent is discovered, the coach usually allows the players to find their path, and work together to develop a playstyle that fits the player.

Unlike their South African counterpart, European football talent usually is recognized at a younger age and starts to train at a relatively young age. This is mainly due to the better and more organized training system which allows coaches to recognize talent earlier. 

The difference that stems from these two styles of training is first and foremost to the eye. Usually, South American football appears more pleasing to the eyes of the beholder, and the style of play is more creative.

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However, there’s something to be said about European efficacy. Even though the style of play may seem more robotic, it’s much more methodical and precise, leading to greater efficacy.

Physical Contact

When taking a look at how players play, and how much physical contact they can endure, South American football looks much more physical. Since most South American players start playing in the streets where there are fewer rules, more physical contact is allowed.

Children in Europe who start playing at an earlier age, are less used to increased physical contact, which is of course, very often discouraged due to the rules in international and national football. This helps professional players avoid some potential mistakes they might make when they compete at a higher level.

Overall, there are dozens of players from both continents that compete very successfully at professional levels in sports. 

The Overall Quality Of Teams

In this part, we will have to look at some numbers and statistics to get a better look at how teams from the two continents compare against each other in similar conditions and situations. This is crucial in determining which teams perform better on any scale.

If we take a look at FIFA as our metric, we can see that European football clubs rank in the top 50 football clubs, with a total number of 25 European clubs. If we take a look at all the top 60 clubs, 30 of them are European.

Soccer player on orange shirt hits the ball

Brazil and Argentina are among the top 3 countries with the best football performances and Brazil is currently ranked the highest as of June 2022. Nine out of ten South American teams made it to the World Cup, throughout history, with Venezuela being the only one that has never qualified.

Today at the World Cup, a lot of South American teams have made it to the quarter-finals, and their performance looks great.

In Europe, 33 of the 55 teams have made an appearance at the World Cup. South America has a better percentage of countries that have attended the World Cup, whereas Europe has a greater number of football teams that have participated. 

These stats are hard to compare as both continents are very good at football, and have similar performances.

How Does Each Continent Perform At The World Cup?

Many countries qualify and play at the World Cup, but very few countries perform well at it. Let’s see how many South American, and European countries have won the cup in the past decades. 

In total, European countries have won a total of 13 World Cup medals, whereas South American countries have won a total of 21. Overall South American football teams have a better performances at the World Cup historically.