Football (soccer) hypothetical: Europe v. S. America

This is a bit of a silly question, but I was inspired by the Club World Cup final this morning in Japan. River Plate fielded a team of 11 South Americans and Barcelona started 6 South Americans and only 5 Europeans. So who would win a hypothetical Continental Championship between Europe and South America? And who would start on this European selection? Half of the Spanish national team and half of the German?

I think we could assume that the South American side would closely resemble today’s Barca team. What do you think?

Germany beat both Brazil and Argentina in the last World Cup.


Verto ghen/Boateng/Hummels/Carvajal





“team” is the key word here.

No doubt Neymar and Messi are brilliant but they don’t make a team. I’d suggest you’d assemble a better squad and a more coherent team from Europe than from South America.

A stab at a starting XI from South America:

Claudio Bravo

Dani Alves / Diego Godin / Thiago Silva / Marcelo

Willian / Arturo Vidal / Alexis

Neymar / Messi / Suarez
South America is stronger at forward; Europe is stronger in goal and midfield. Defense is probably a wash.

If you based the hypothetical on pure talent, South America would dominate. IMO, the problem for South American national teams is that almost all of their top players are splintered within the top European leagues and have very little time to gel together and play as a team. While a few German players do play outside of Germany, they are not nearly as fractured as Argentina or Brazil, and even Chile or Uruguay. On paper, Argentina should have dominated Germany at the WC (and perhaps they still would have had Argentina not been so banged up).

Only the GK Neuer would be an advantage for Europe (and Bravo is just behind).

A South American All Star team would have these to choose from:

Forwards: Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Higuain, Cavani, Tevez, Douglas Costa, Alexis, Dybala, Correa

Attacking Midfielders: James, Banega, Oscar, Willian, Coutinho, Lamela, Pastore

Holding Midfielders: Vidal, Luiz, Fernandinho, Mascherano, Biglia, Carlos Sanchez

Fullbacks: Marcelo, Alves, Felipe Luiz, Zabaleta, Zapata

Center Backs: Silva, Godin, Marquinos, Rojo, Otamendi, Garay, Cacares, Isla, Medel, Murillo

GK: Bravo, Muslera

Thats just silly. The SAs do not have more talent than the Euros. They get fetishized because of the Barca 3 ignoring the fact that its the system that makes them what they are. Germany has eliminated Argentina 2 WCs in a row. The Europeans match them in talent and exceed them in athleticism and technic.

I’m not sure what Barcelona’s “system” has to do with the relative talent levels of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. Are you saying they’d be ineffective playing together without the Barca management?

As others have pointed out, the Argentine national team was not cohesive in 2014 (and was horribly mismanaged in 2010) and we’re also talking about adding in Suarez and Neymar, not to mention better defensive players.

Naturally. Who had ever heard of Luis Suarez or Neymar before Barca uncovered those diamonds in the rough?

Are you literally just grabbing fifteen guys (you need reserves) per continent, buying them plane tickets, and shipping them to a neutral site to start playing next Tuesday?

Or do the respective continental managers get some time with their squads to work out how the teams will actually function?

But Germany isn’t Europe and Argentina isn’t South America (and trusting the results of two matches that happened two and six years ago for something happening now is a fool’s game) The 10th man on Argentina’s roster isn’t going to come close to making the South American side. They’d cut him fifteen minutes in to the South American tryout.

It appears to me that madsircool has some fetish about the German national team. I’m not sure how one can reasonably say that Suarez, Messi, and Neymar are a product of Barcelona’s system. It’s almost as silly as saying CR7 is the product of Real Madrid’s system.

I don’t agree with it, but that argument is extremely common against Messi. He grew up in that system and hasn’t reached nearly the same heights with Argentina. I think that’s mostly due to other things, but since most of his success has come from there…

It’s certainly harder to make the same argument against Suarez, and a bit less so against Neymar.

Ordinarily it’s a criticism that’s raised in the context of an argument about whether he’s the best in the world or on the short list of the greatest of all time, though, not one about whether he’s better than Miroslav Klose.

I understand where it starts, but to think that Barcelona has played exactly the same system for the entirety of Messi’s career is a bit ridiculous. I mean do people really believe that Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique have the same tactical system? Or that Barca still play tiki-taka?

CR7 wasnt developed at RM. Also, Ronaldo is far stronger and more athletic than Messi. He can play anywhere and in any system and prosper. He can create his own chances. Messi is a great player, one of the best. But how would he do as a lone striker? The Barca system is perfectly designed for his game. He has world class MFers to feed him the ball in the right places. Because of Neymar and Suarez the defenses cant shut him down without the other two being in mismatches.

It’s amazing that no other team has thought to put great MFs and other great forwards behind their star forward!!! It must be because Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern, Man City, Arsenal, etc, don’t have close to the same money… right?

I agree. I do think that Klose is oddly underrated. His Germany performances have been brilliant. But I think he is a product of the German system.

The whole Europe vs SA argument turned a big page in the last World Cup. Germany were so much physically and technically better than Brazil. Maybe its all down to better training philosophies and methods. But who were the real head turning South American players in either WC Brazil or Copa America Chile?

Today, at the end of 2015, Europe is far better. But it wont always be. And there are 3 other continents that are advancing rapidly. Its a good time to be a footie fan.

Whereas, for instance, I’ll never forget the Barcelona U-17 match I saw where thanks to the system, Suarez scored a hat trick in under ten minutes.

So… that tightly contested WC Final between Germany and Argentina doesn’t matter because… ?

Also, did you miss James Rodriguez’s performance? Or were you not aware that Colombia resides in South America?

Barca developed them within their system and got really lucky. We wont see another Xavi, Iniesta like mf combo in a while. They are alltime greats. Also, rich teams always win, right? Why hasnt every other NFL team copied the Patriots methods? Or the Spurs in the NBA?

You do realize that that the NFL and NBA have salary caps, right? While no European soccer leagues have them.