Continental divides

When it comes to World Cups, it's Europe, South America, then everyone else

Originally Published: June 12, 2013
By Doug McIntyre and Rachel Ullrich | ESPN The Magazine

NeymarAP Photo/Rex FeaturesBrazil's play are designed around getting the ball to striker Neymar.

South America


Strength: A guaranteed host spot allows manager Luiz Felipe Scolari to experiment with formations, all designed to get the ball to striker Neymar, making Brazil tough to scout. Ignore that 1-5-2 record since November.
Weakness: Part of Scolari's tinkering has been to cover for a lack of command from a holding midfielder, resulting in vulnerabilities when the team's aggressive defenders attack.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.