Time to break the hoodoo

Europe may have won 10 of 19 World Cup Finals, but no team from the continent have won in South America before.

The continent's hot and humid weather has been cited by some as a major stumbling block for European teams in the past, and may well be a huge hurdle at the Finals in Rio next year.

But Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro believes that it is high time that an European team break that hoodoo.

In town as the ambassador for the Tiger Street Football event at Marina Bay Sands, the 40-year-old Italian said with a laugh on Thursday: "It (the statistic) is not nice... but football now is totally different from 10 or 15 years ago and it's a good time to change things."

Five-time champions Brazil will have home-ground advantage at the Finals. Germany, Argentina and defending champions Spain are also strong contenders to lift the trophy.

But Cannavaro believes the Azzurri are in for a shout for their fifth title as well, their first since 2006.

"The team are very good now - we had a nice qualification, we had a nice tournament in Brazil in the summer and we are confident now," said the former Fifa World Player of the Year, referring to the Confederations Cup this year, where Italy finished third.

"But of course the World Cup is something different because even if people tell you that you're the best, you can still make mistakes.

"We know we have a good team but that is not enough; to win the World Cup, you need something more."


That extra bit of motivation may come from players like Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Pirlo and Alberto Gilardino, who are likely to make their last appearances in the showpiece football tournament.

"When you know it's your last chance to be the World Cup champions, you will give more," said Cannavaro, who played for Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

"But I hope they want to win it not just for Pirlo and the other players, but also for the supporters... my country needs (a victory) like this now."

Cheekily, he added: "And we don't want Brazil to win another trophy!"


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