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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371878 Switzerland (Lost in First Round) Switzerland+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

If you cannot score, you will not win. (Ask Algeria.) So how did the Swiss upset Spain? It was a total fluke, that’s how. This side is guilty of the worst crime of all, being boring. Ottmar Hitzfeld realized he had no one who could attack, so he rarely tried to. That’s dull, but give the manager credit: He spared us three games of the appalling Alexander Frei (pictured). On the final night it was almost laughable watching the Swiss hammer away at a smaller Honduran central defense without the slightest idea of what to do. Chances were routinely headed away, kicked away or just plain thrown away, and the Swiss went from being upset darlings of the Cup to endorsers of cheese, or whatever these guys do for extra attention at home. It certainly isn’t football.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371877 South Africa (Lost in First Round) South+Africa+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

The hosts never had the talent needed to make a run at this level, but actually overachieved with a final day win over France. Failure to close the door against Uruguay (two late goals) eventually killed them. If there is such a thing as a moral victory at this level, credit Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira with achieving that for Bafana Bafana. He fielded a competent side that just wasn't good enough. And hey, that was one hell of a goal by Siphiwe Tshabalala (pictured), wasn’t it?
 

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371876 Slovenia (Lost in First Round) Slovenia+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Maybe the hardest-luck losers of the teams that did not make the final 16, but they tossed it away in their match with the USA. Nobody had ever blown a 2-0 halftime lead at a Cup before, but this defensively-challenged team found a way, and it eventually cost them. Remember: They were in sight of qualification twice and yet wound up flying home when Landon Donovan rallied the USA beat Algeria, as their effort to tie England ended in failure. This was a golden chance missed because their talent is merely average and the defenders decidedly shaky.

 

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11372002 Serbia (Lost in First Round) Serbia+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Scared to death or just plain incompetent? It's hard to know what to say about a Serbian side that approached its group finale against Australia in such a bizarre manner. They looked like men trapped in tar — unable to create anything on attack, slow and ponderous at the back and devoid of any ideas. And when the Aussies took over the second half, the Serbs didn't respond until far too late. You have to think this team lacked confidence from the start, because when it was gifted with a win against 10-man Germany, it was unable to build from it. We expected much better from a side with Milos Krasic (pictured) and Dejan Stankovic, and those two have to bear some of the blame.

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/13_20100625185707_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/13_20100625185707_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371984 North Korea (Lost in First Round) North+Korea+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Let's not be too harsh. This was a squad that we knew could not compete. By keeping everyone in the penalty area for 80 minutes, they caused Brazil some opening night problems. But when the ship sank in the second half against Portugal, we all should have remembered these guys are pretty much state-supported amateurs. To their credit, the Koreans did not cave in against Cote D'Ivoire on the final night. They scored a goal against Brazil, but yielded 12 overall, which will consign them to dead last. But you just have to hope that the strange regime in their homeland understands that the real achievement was qualifying for the Cup the first place. If this team were able to play in the real world more often, it would improve. I’d dare to say that a lot of soccer fans would welcome that.

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/12_20100625185707_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/12_20100625185707_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371875 Nigeria (Lost in First Round) Nigeria+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Another ridiculous failure by the Super Turkeys, who have gone progressively downhill since the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 Olympics. It's not a lack of talent, it's the shambles of an organization that seems to get worse with each World Cup. A corrupt FA and league, continual squabbling in the ranks and dreadful operations management all conspired to sink this bunch before they even took the field. This team also will be remembered for the silliest sending off of the entire Cup: The off-the-field thigh kick of Sani Kaita (pictured) against Greece reduced his team to 10 men and effectively killed their qualifying hopes. No wonder Swede Lars Lagerbeck stood there with a bemused look on his face. This was hopeless.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371873 New Zealand (Lost in First Round) New+Zealand+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

These guys should get parades from Auckland to Wellington. This was a heroic New Zealand, 800-1 no-hopers who came to South Africa and proved that you don't have to be really good to be a real pain in the behind. Ryan Nelsen (pictured), an MLS alum, had the games of his life in central defense; goalkeeper Mark Paston was heroic against Italy; and Coach Ricki Herbert struck just the right balance between safety-first and attack-occasionally. Yes, the Kiwis were boring to watch in pure footballing terms, and one of their goals was offside, but unlike the North Koreans, they don't have to excuse their presence at all. And they finished ahead of Italy, in what may be the biggest upset in World Cup group play history.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371874 Italy (Lost in First Round) Italy+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

An operatic tragedy. Italy’s exit began with back luck, as Andrea Pirlo injured his calf before the competition started. Should Coach Marcelo Lippi have known how vital Pirlo was and called in a replacement before the plane left Rome? Yes, but the fact is there was no replacement. The second-guessing about the age of this team and Pirlo’s role overlooks the fact that, as a whole, Serie A just isn’t producing the talent it once did. And Lippi, who arguably took the best team he could, also took the blame for this one. A man of honor, he knows it’s unfair to rip his below-par players for not being able to do what they couldn't.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371872 Honduras (Lost in First Round) Honduras+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

OK, no one ever thought this was a powerhouse team. Indeed, at times you started to wonder how some of these fellas pick up a North American paycheck. But give them credit for getting out of South Africa with a point. Part of that had to do with Spain's timid approach against them, more to the fact that Honduras got a high work rate from its defenders as well as competent goalkeeping from Noel Valladares. Honduras aren’t even in the same solar system as Chile or Spain, but they found their level when they held Switzerland to a final night draw. Sadly, that was hardly Honduras' finest half-hour: In the last 30 minutes they messed up so many scoring chances it was comical. How did Honduras edge out Costa Rica in the first place? That's one only the Ticos can answer.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11372001 Greece (Lost in First Round) Greece+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

The fact that the Greeks won Euro 2004 with an ultra-defensive game plan turned out to be a major curse. Coach Otto Rehhagel stayed with that approach, even though it was obvious he was in an group unsuited for that style. Indeed, when the Greeks were forced to play a more open game (against the 10 men of Nigeria, to be honest), they looked like a team that could score when necessary. Blame Rehhagel for not altering his team’s mentality soon enough.

VALERY HACHE/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/7_20100625185644_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/7_20100625185644_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371983 France (Lost in First Round) France+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Where do you want to start? Thierry Henry's hand ball that helped qualify them? The sex scandal involving Franck Ribery and an underage hooker? The locker room eruption that left the side in tatters, Nicolas Anelka on a plane home and captain Patrice Evra dropped? The nutty impotence of Coach Raymond Domenech (pictured)? There’s lots of blame to go around. Guess you can blame Zinedine Zidane, too — he retired and there was nobody available to replace him.

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/6_20100625185643_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/6_20100625185643_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371982 Denmark (Lost in First Round) Denmark+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

The Danes will blame their own shaky performance in the opener against Holland (a game that was there to be drawn), and the gaffes of goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen (pictured) against Japan for their early return to Copenhagen. It's not quite that straightforward. Where was the man in the middle to direct traffic? He never turned up. Who was the man to provide close support for Nicklas Bendtner in the box? He was MIA, too. And when the goalkeeper — one of the better ones in Europe, you know — came up with those clangers in response to Japanese free kicks, it was over. Morten Olsen's time as coach has come and gone, too. Whatever notes he was taking in the last 30 minutes of this Cup need to be handed off to someone else. Oddly enough, the Danes have retained him through 2012.

PEDRO UGARTE/AF - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/5_20100625185619_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/5_20100625185619_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371981 Ivory Coast (Lost in First Round) Ivory+Coast+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

The Group of Death and Broken Arm of Drogba. No, it’s not the title for a pulp thriller, but the simplest explanation of why Africa's best team couldn’t escape round one. The fractured elbow of Didier Drogba (pictured) meant he could never play at his best. He was especially ineffective in the opening game against Portugal, the one you always knew would determine which of those two accompanied Brazil to the final 16. That said, there was another problem for Sven Goran Eriksson's team: They were far too individualistic. Against North Korea on a night when they needed goals, the Elephants all seemed to think they had to do it themselves, with long dribbling runs replacing the quick-passing game that Portugal had shown would shred the Asians. Eriksson himself was a late addition to the bench and there was little evidence he did much for the team’s tactics.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371926 Cameroon (Lost in First Round) Cameroon+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

This was a disaster waiting to happen. It is at best unwise to prepare for a World Cup with a friendly in which your best player (Samuel Eto'o, pictured) gets in a huff and doesn't play. You don't repair that situation by making him captain, even if he deserves to be on talent. Finally, you don't show up in South Africa without any apparent attention to tactical detail. There was a reason that Cameroon was the first African team eliminated from a Cup that should have suited teams from the continent: They were terrible from the start and never got any better.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371696 Australia (Lost in First Round) Australia+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

Like the host nation, the Aussies exited South Africa with both their heads high and some second-guessing. Everyone knew that this was an older side, but where was that experience when Germany dissected them 4-0 and effectively ended their Cup before it started? We did see improvement from there on, and Lucas Neill and Craig Moore held the back line together well. Losing both Tim Cahill (pictured) and Harry Kewell to red cards created attack issues, as Joshua Kennedy proved to be no value at all up top. The real problem now is to develop a group of players who can carry on the Socceroos tradition. This isn’t easy because the A-League is weak and too many men on this squad have played their last Cup match.

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/2_20100625185619_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/25/2_20100625185619_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11371871 Algeria (Lost in First Round) Algeria+%28Lost+in+First+Round%29 World Cup

If you cannot score, you will not win. The Algerians gave new breadth to that old saw with an attacking game that absolutely blew apart once it got within sight of the opposing goal. This team, which can pass the ball so well through midfield, turned into a group of clog dancers in the opposition penalty area. Everything else was there: a pretty good defense, a heroic goalkeeper (Rais M'Bohli) and a very competent midfield creator (Karim Ziani). They lose additional points for a classless exit: Rafik Saifi slapped a female journalist in the mixed zone after their loss to the USA. She punched him back.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11399825 United States of America (Lost in Round of 16) United+States+of+America+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

They coughed up early goals, the defense was porous and riddled with injuries, the coach made peculiar lineup changes in a should-have-won game vs. Ghana and got burned badly. The team had an ethos of working hard, but no grasp of tactics. They wore themselves out against a bad Algerian side. They never were able to address the obvious flaws in the team’s performances seen in qualification. They only have four truly top-level players. They won only one game. That’s why the Americans are out.

ROBERTO SCHMIDT - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-2_20100630004407_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-2_20100630004407_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11399981 South Korea (Lost in Round of 16) South+Korea+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

The Korean team has improved dramatically since its wonderful run in 2002. It can now win big games outside of Asia, and shows a tenacity and understanding of the world game that other nations rightly envy. What it lacks is experience and depth. Its goalkeeping is weak and like so many other teams, it relied too heavily on one player, in this case, Park Ji-sung. Unfortunately, the calculus will be cold: Like the Americans, they won only one game… against the Greeks. It’s not good enough at this level.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11399400 Slovakia (Lost in Round of 16) Slovakia+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

They were probably the least-talented team to make the knockout stage, happening to play their best game against an Italian side that was already halfway out the door. Jan Mucha was halfway decent for them in the nets, but Vladimir Weiss never showed up for the team — and yes, his father is the coach of the same name — and Robert Vittek had a hard time getting the ball. These guys have some emerging talent, but they lack so much experience and speed that unless they can undergo a radical upgrade, this might well be the last time we see the Slovaks in the Cup for quite a while.

Jamie McDonald - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-3_20100630004407_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-3_20100630004407_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11400021 Portugal (Lost in Round of 16) Portugal+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

This was the first team with a great deal of talent to go out, and it’s fair to say that they just plain lost to a better team. The well-decorated Raul Meireles showed grit and creativity, but lacked the final touch. Cristiano Ronaldo resorted to diving when he needed service. But goalie Eduardo and Ricardo Carvalho had great tournaments, and showed they still have it. Special mention must be made of Fabio Coentrao: he had a great tournament at wing-back and should be pickings for a bigger team. They lost to Spain. Hey, who beats Spain ... other than the USA and Switzerland?

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11400003 Mexico (Lost in Round of 16) Mexico+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

Javier Aguirre built a solid team that mixed youth and experience well, but in the final analysis there was too much expected from Gio dos Santos – as seen vividly in the Round of 16 loss to Argentina. Gerardo Torrado had another good Cup for his country, but the fact that this aging Aztec warrior had to do so much was proof that Aguirre's younger men are just that little bit short of prime time. Carlos Vela’s injury hurt – without the Arsenal youngster the Mexicans often found themselves left with only long-range options against Uruguay and Argentina (not coincidentally the teams they lost to). Mexican supporters, however, should take pride in the win over France. The big question is who the FMF gets to replace "El Vasco," but as it stands, Mexico is arguably top dog again in CONCACAF.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11399826 Japan (Lost in Round of 16) Japan+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

How would you like it if your own countrymen laughed at the very notion that you’d get out of the group? Manager Takeshi Okada went further, and brazenly suggested his side would make the semis, leading a one-time Japanese club coach, Arsenal’s Arsene Wnger, to tell him that if his team got out of the group that Japan should erect a statue in his honor in downtown Tokyo. Guess what: Okada’s men won two games in the group stage and performed not only above expectations, but with real flair. Keisuke Honda of CKSA Moscow is a genuine talent, and behind him the Japanese were actually able to play a game closer to the style of their Brazilian idols. Sadly, they didn’t take down a scared Paraguayan side ripe for the picking. If they can get past the fear of big occasions, they can be special. Oh, and we’ll get back to you on plans for that statue.

Clive Mason - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-7_20100630004604_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/06/30/062910-Why-Your-Team-Lost-Gallery-SW-7_20100630004604_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11400022 England (Lost in Round of 16) England+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

Overrated. Yeah, England has the most exciting league in the world, but when will people wake up and face the fact that the best players in the Premiership aren't English? And by that same token, when are people going to admit that playing in the BPL is exhausting and that teams that rely heavily on players from that league are noticeably weaker in big competitions? England has never been as good as its fans and media think, but this was a new low. No defense, an absent (and maybe injured) Wayne Rooney and the distractions of John Terry helped turn a slightly above-average side into a trainwreck. The fix is simple: England needs to spend more money and time on youth development. It needs to reexamine a coaching culture that promotes a less-technical, overly physical game. And it cannot turn its back on the innovations in world football. If this reminds you of the Americans, well, you're right: They face the same issues as the Old Empire.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11400001 Chile (Lost in Round of 16) Chile+%28Lost+in+Round+of+16%29 World Cup

Someone has to lose, and generally speaking, when you play Brazil, that team happens to be you. They got waxed by a South American rival that usually gets the better of them anyway —the record is unbelievably lopsided, something like 47-7 in wins — in a game made more lopsided by the fact that coach Marcelo Bielsa had three guys unavailable due to suspension. Would Gary Medel, Waldo Ponce and Marco Estrada have made a difference? Maybe, but the truth is for all Chile’s grit, Brazil exposed their frailties. They have the tactics, and they have the talent — but they didn’t have another gear.

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World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11435949 Paraguay (Lost in quarterfinals) Paraguay+%28Lost+in+quarterfinals%29 World Cup

Anti-football at its worst. This team played games not to lose, even when it didn’t have to. Maddening isn’t the word for this bunch, who looked completely devoid of confidence against Japan yet showed that for 45 minutes they could match up well against Spain. Credit manager Gerardo Martino for realizing that if you cannot score, you’d better defend. Paraguay only let in two goals this Cup, and Justo Villar, Claudio Morel all raised their stock. But blame Paraguay for not pressing their advantages, or worse, not even realizing they had them. There’s no shame in going out to the Spanish, of course; but there is shame in capitulation.

Ryan Pierse - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/4_20100704123646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/4_20100704123646_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11435951 Ghana (Lost in quarterfinals) Ghana+%28Lost+in+quarterfinals%29 World Cup

They’re out because the game is cruel. Asamoah Gyan’s penalty miss (pictured) in the 120th minute will never be forgotten. Gyan, who now enters history alongside Roberto Baggio, may never live his team’s loss to Uruguay down: He had the semifinals in his palm of his hand, only to throw it away. Ghana was brilliant at times, yet lacked the composure to really put teams away. Michael Essien’s absence was a killer to a team that clearly had talent and desire, but needed something special to get them past the quarterfinals. If there is any team you truly feel awful for, it is this one. They deserved better than this.

Michael Steele - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/2_20100704123646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/2_20100704123646_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11435950 Brazil (Lost in quarterfinals) Brazil+%28Lost+in+quarterfinals%29 World Cup

What was Dunga thinking? He took a team perfectly capable of playing flowing, gorgeous football and instead focused on hacking Holland’s Arjen Robben. It was a dreadful tactical error that first cost him the use of Michel Bastos — then the entire game. Equal credit has to go to Felipe Melo, who went form hero to goat in one fell swoop, setting up a goal then conceding two on the day. But the loss of form and composure of this Brazil side remains remarkable. This is a team that didn’t need to kick their way to a win. Why they played a post-up game when all they needed to do was pass remains a mystery.

Martin Meissner - http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/1_20100704123645_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/1_20100704123645_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11435893 Argentina (Lost in quarterfinals) Argentina+%28Lost+in+quarterfinals%29 World Cup

Having the best player in the world doesn’t count for much if, every time he touches the ball, four guys clamber onto him. Diego Maradona found that out at the hands of a stifling, stunning German team in the quarterfinals, as he watched Lionel Messi (pictured) get shut down by a younger, slicker team. Maradona will come in for much criticism at home and in the European media, and not all of it will be justified (Remember: The English hate him with barely disguised venom). You can fault some of Maradona’s roster choices — Esteban Cambiasso should have made the trip — but you can’t fault the team’s flowing, attacking style of play, or the joy he and his team brought to an awfully dour World Cup. Sooner or later, all World Cup losers run into the one thing they can’t handle: A better team. For Argentina, that was a Germany.

Paul Gilham - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/3_20100704123646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/04/3_20100704123646_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11460073 Uruguay (Lost in semifinals) Uruguay+%28Lost+in+semifinals%29 World Cup

The South Americans were the feel-good story of the Cup. Ignore the folks who are convinced Luis Suarez “cheated” Ghana out of a place in the semifinals (he didn’t) and think instead about the 119 minutes of football that proceeded it. It was arguably the best game of the tournament, open, attacking, flowing — all the things we love in this sport. The Uruguayans weren’t highly rated, don’t have many stars, and most of their players will probably go back to being the journeymen they were before the Cup kicked off. They still were great. They lost in the semis because Holland got a dubious goal, and were edged in the third place game despite a valiant effort. There’s no shame in their performance at all. They were great.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/08/3_20100708123637_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/08/3_20100708123637_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11459296 Germany (Lost in semifinal) Germany+%28Lost+in+semifinal%29 World Cup

This young German team looks well-poised for 2014, but in the here and now, it was a lack of experience that cost them dearly against Spain. The Spaniards used all their guile to close down the midfield, blunting the utility of Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger to great effect, preventing the Germans from gaining any sort of width or purchase. The Germans looked stunned at the final whistle, but they had shown neither the ideas nor the technique to get past a very resilient and battle-hardened European champion. And, the lesson learned on the night may well be that without Thomas Muller, arguably the breakout star of the Cup itself, that Germany didn’t have all the pieces it needed.

Michael Steele/Getty Images - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/08/2_20100708123546_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/08/2_20100708123546_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11470956 Netherlands (Lost in final) Netherlands+%28Lost+in+final%29 World Cup

They lost because they fell into the same trap Brazil did against them: they fouled early and often to disrupt a faster, slicker Spanish side. Despite all the talent on their roster, Holland never were able to remind anyone of the great (but losing) sides of 1974 and 1978; this team looked grimly efficient but utterly joyless. In the final, they hacked their way to infamy, picking up nine cards and an ejection in a performance that summed up how negative this year’s Cup had become. If there was a bright spot, it was the emergence of Dirk Kuyt as a creative force and the revelation of Maarten Stekelenburg in the nets. And hey, that second half against Brazil in the quarters was pretty sweet. Too bad they tarnished that legacy with a despicable performance in the final.

Jasper Juinen - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/12/abacus_20100712124111_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2010/07/12/abacus_20100712124111_70_70.JPG
World Cup 194 43 Trecker: Why these teams are out of the World Cup 11460072 Feeling the pain Feeling+the+pain World Cup

Some never had a chance, and some never showed up. After four rounds of competition, 30 of 32 teams that qualified for the World Cup have found their way back home. Jamie Trecker looks at the losers and sums up why they're out.

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