The World South American Cup
Heading into the World Cup, the FIFA world ranking of the ten best national soccer teams?included eight European countries and only two South?American countries.
By my quick calculations as of this writing, leaving out matches between teams?from the same continent (because these games are not useful in judging the relative prowess across continents), the record of European teams in World Cup?games against teams from another continent is only seven wins, eight draws, and six losses.
In stark contrast, the South American teams have a stunning?record of nine wins, two draws, and only one loss. This is in?spite of the fact that these teams were ranked 1st, 7th, 16th,?18th, 31st, and 38th in the world.
Is there something in the water in South America? Is there?European bias in how teams are ranked?
(For our thoughts on penalty kicks, see Dubner’s recent blog post.)