I notice that, in football, a small group of national teams (Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, England, France and Germany) have won virtually every international prize and championship with very few exceptions.
I also noticed that this was as true in the 1930s as it is now in the 2010s (and all the years in between). Why is that?
Players, coaches and many of the other people involved change every few years, but those teams always win more often.
What explains this phenomenon?

  • 2
    in jest... England have only won 1 world cup and no european cups. Uruguay have a better record
    – aqwert
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 4:42

3 Answers 3


There are many reasons why a select group of countries have dominated international football for so long, and there have been countless articles written about this subject but what it all comes down to is your football infrastructure. A country's football infrastructure is made up of many interconnected facets some of the most important of which are as follows

  1. Does your country have a football culture and passion for the game to inspire people to play?
  2. How large is your pool of athletes, this can also be affected by how many sports are popular in your country, for example in the Anglosphere (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) the population has a larger selection of internationally popular team sports available for them to invest their time in?
  3. Does your country have high quality academies in which the best players from your pool of athletes can hone and improve their skills?
  4. Does your country have a healthy domestic league in which your young players can progress to and test their abilities against other great players from around the world?
  5. Is the Coaching/administrative side of the sport well established and funded to maximize the talent of the players.

You could honestly write a book about this subject with ease and what I've written is a gross oversimplification but is should give you some idea of why some countries seem to excel in the game of football whilst others do not.

  • This good answer would be great with some better formatting (especially for that list)(unfortunately my skill is not quite helpful enough), and it would be excellent with some cited examples of the factors you mention.
    – Nij
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 0:52
  • +1 Excellence breeds excellence. Playing against better players will force you to change up your game. If you're a good player within your region, but never play against people from other regions, you will plateau since everything will just work and no one will force you to adapt.
    – Yousend
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 14:56

The main reason is if soccer is a big part of the culture of the country. For example, in Argentina, it's extremely rare to find a person who haven't played soccer in his whole life. It's common for most men to play every week with friends, and in their childhood to spend vacations playing 8,10,12 hours per day. They (we) also have great examples to follow, such as Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, they make us believe that we can be the best in the world and the best in the history of soccer as they were / are.

I wouldn't place the number of people in a country as a reason which influences in a similar level than the reason first mentioned. For example, Uruguay (which is a country with 3 million inhabitants) have won 2 World Cups and 15 Copa America, it's one of the 2 countries with most international titles, they have Golden Foot's winners such as Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, top level players. Other countries such as China and India with over 1300 and 1200 millions inhabitants, are extremely far away of the prestige and the quality of players the Uruguay national team has.

I wouldn't place organization as a main reason either. Argentina, despite high FIFA ranking, is an organizational mess, with an extremely bad federation and many clubs in bankruptcy.


In my opinion, the main reason is the national Championships of this Countries. England, Spain, Germany and Brazil has top championships, where plays top teams. Most important teams has strong football academys, where growing up top players. So kids from this Countries has a better chance to become good players, and the National Teams has a greater choice of players. That's why they wins international prize more often than other Countries.


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