The influence of European football is noticeable even when its representatives are not on the field.
In the first match of the World Cup, Qatar against Ecuador, Enner Valencia was the decisive player.
This striker cut his teeth in the Premier League, and many of his Ecuadorian teammates also play in Europe.
Against a team with this experience, the Qatari artificial product had no chance.
Only in Europe is top-class football cultivated, only there is it possible to have a really great career.
The World Cup started in a hostile way.
In his speech, FIFA president Gianni Infantino attacked Europe.
He accused his representatives of arrogance and double standards, of egocentrism and Eurocentrism.
In doing so, he missed a point: the center of football is in Europe, historically, culturally, economically and sportingly.
Europe dominates contemporary football.
In international competitions it is very clear: the last time the decisive match of a World Cup was played without European participation was three quarters of a century ago.
The last four world champions are Italy, Spain, Germany and France, and three of their four opponents in the final came from Europe.
In 2006 and 2018, the semifinals were all European.
The dominance in club football is even clearer.
Everything smells of Europe, of the big five leagues, and this trend has intensified since the creation of the Champions League in 1992. The last world-class footballers to mature outside of Europe were Pelé and Zico.
Diego Maradona spent his best years in Spain and Italy.
Lionel Messi went to Barcelona as a child, Neymar at 21.
Of the starting eleven of the last non-European world champions, Brazil 2002, only one did not play in Europe during his career: Marcos, the goalkeeper.
The talent is spread all over the planet, South America produces many great footballers, Africa has impressive players.
But they always take the last step in a European league.
The last world champion teams where this was different were Brazil and Argentina in the 1970s.
Now Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are made up almost exclusively of footballers who play in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1 or Serie A. Teams with a different profile have virtually no chance of reaching the semi-finals. .
The first impression of this World Cup is that Europe will give answers to Infantino on the pitch.
England showed their defensive weaknesses, but scored six goals against Iran.
The Netherlands, a three-time World Cup finalist, defeated African champions Senegal.
For the French, Australia will not have been the last rival to which they are superior in all aspects.
Denmark, Poland, Wales and Croatia are also very well organized.
From the first minute, the Spanish team once again demonstrated its style, which sets it apart from its opponents: an offensive and possession game.
The match against Costa Rica was a very unequal duel.
There is no doubt that the European players perform and make the tournament attractive.
Only Germany has stepped out of the winning line against Japan.
When they were winning 1-0, Hansi Flick ended the team's stability by replacing three players (from Bayern, Chelsea and Manchester City) with three others with less experience.
Actually, Germany hit themselves, because both of Japan's top scorers play in the Bundesliga.
Italy, the European champions, is not even there, nor is former World Cup finalist Sweden.
Neither Hungary, nor the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which, when they formed a single country, were twice in the final.
Erling Haaland, possibly one of the epoch-making forwards of the next decade, is absent in Qatar because European competition was too demanding for Norway in qualifying.
If the places for the World Cup were awarded only by sporting criteria, Europe would have much more than 13 of the 32 participants.
The European teams usually prevail while the world meets in Qatar.
In doing so, they provide a role model.
If European sports politicians have to face a reproach, it is that they have betrayed the values defended by the continent of the Enlightenment.
For many years, they focused their attention on the high individual benefits and not on the responsibility that football must assume in society.
Soccer needs new representatives to adapt to its credibility crisis.
They can go back to their origins.
A century and a half ago, it began its triumphant global march in England, Scotland, and Switzerland, soon followed by France, Spain, and Germany.
It was so successful because it was part of the labor movement and democratization.
It allowed social advancement and demanded fair play.
Club culture was brought to life.
To balance the interests, FIFA was founded.
Its first members were Switzerland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.
What has happened to this European institution based in Zurich, which in its day arose for the reason of international solidarity?
Until today, these roots are the strength of football.
Now is the time to defend these achievements.
For Europe, it's a matter of self-preservation.
This requires a cooperation;
soccer is a team sport.
The first steps have been taken.
The fact that the choice of the World Cup venue twelve years ago was wrong seems to be perpetuated as an attitude.
In Qatar, some European associations wanted to come together to send a signal for diversity with a colorful captain's armband.
However, it was very naive to trust FIFA's leniency to do so.
In the power struggle with Infantino, a Swiss of Italian origin, Europe is falling behind.
The teams now give up the bracelet, but that can not be the last word.
Supported by strong performances from the players, UEFA's associations must now fight back, with the help of allies from other continents.
We must save the values of football and what this game expresses.
It is a European game.
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