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Sepp Blatter says he has been pleased by the number of surprise results in the World Cup, insisting it is good for the the long-term health of the game.

“I do not want to lay myself open again to charges of being anti-European, but I think it is a good thing” said the FIFA President.

Argentina, France and Portugal were among the pre-tournament favourites but failed to qualify for the second round. The likes of Italy, Spain and England also failed to make it beyond the quarter- finals.

Blatter said that smaller teams had done well because of increased funding and better organisation, proving that football has become a truly global phenomenon.

“Differences that previously existed between countries in terms of money, training facilities and personnel have been reduced” he said.

Many of the surprise teamsof the World Cup have had experienced European coaches at the helm, such as Guus Hiddink of South Korea and Bruno Metsu of Senegal.

Blatter hinted that many of the bigger nations had been unsuccessful because they had underestimated the strength of smaller nations and had not planned well.

“What strikes me most about this World Cup is that even the greatest of teams can be humbled if they are not ideally prepared” he said.

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