Over the last 20 years, European clubs are 13-7 in the Club World Cup final and its former incarnation, the Inter-Continental Cup, against South American opposition. As the Independent’s Sam Wallace points out, that is hardly a dominating statistic, which is surprising given Europe’s financial dominance of the sport.
Of the seven South American teams that have won the competition, four have been Brazilian and three have been Argentine. The fact that these countries produce soccer teams of high quality is perhaps even more surprising when you consider that they usually lose their very best players to Europe at a young age: Leo Messi, for example, has never played club soccer in Argentina.
Wallace cites stats from the official UEFA website showing that there were more Brazilians (76) in the UEFA Champions League group stages this year than any other nationality, including France (66), Spain (63), Germany (47), Portugal (41), Argentina (32) and England (31). And yet, Europe still only wins roughly two out of every three world club championships. As Wallace likens the phenomenon to “giving America virtually all Europe's leading golfers and then winning the Ryder Cup with the next wave of players.”