Latin America & Caribbean

South America at the World Cup: Your views

South American sides made up four of the eight quarter-finalists at the World Cup.

It is the first time this has happened since 1930.

BBC News website readers from the four countries spoke to us before their teams played the quarter-finals.

They told us how the World Cup has affected their cities, shared their good luck charms - and said why they think South American teams are different from the rest.

ARGENTINA

WALTER VALDEZ IN BUENOS AIRES:

I work in IT support in a computer factory. We installed a big screen to be able to watch the matches, but luckily when Argentina plays the phone never rings as the city is deserted.

Even the cinemas show the match, as no one in their right mind would go to watch a movie while Argentina is playing. So we enjoy our "mate" (the traditional Argentinian hot drink) that is perfect because we all share it in a social ceremony and it also helps to calm the nerves.

We Argentinians are very superstitious. We believe that we have to sit in exactly the same places and with the same friends to watch every match. Some people wear the same underwear they were wearing when Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986. Others don't watch the first half or use crucifixes, saints, etc.

But overall, the preferred method to guarantee victory is to sing, shout and give indications to the players, even if they are thousands of miles away.

It would be great if Argentina makes it to the final. It would cheer us up from the economic crisis.

NICOLAS FASSI IN CORDOBA:

In Argentina, football is much more than a religion. When our team plays the city stops hours before the match. Street stalls sell the whole kit of "gorro, bandera y vincha" (hat, flag and headband) so that everyone can wear their bit of light blue and white.

I have my own lucky charm. I wear a replica of the shirt Argentina wore at Mexico '86, with the blue and white stripes - because that was the last time we won a World Cup.

I would love Argentina to get to the final, although I'm more interested in the team playing well and scoring goals. I don't want a final like 2006, when Italy won by a penalty shoot-out.

What is it about South American football teams? I think they're different from Europeans because they are a bit more rebellious, in a good way.

I don't know how European children play football, but here all you need is to kick a paper ball and that makes do for a football match. Any moment is good to play football. Some of this must be reflected on the teams.

URUGUAY

JUAN ROVELLA IN MONTEVIDEO:

We have been suffering for four years, as the qualifiers round was incredible - we just made it to the last spot after a play-off against Costa Rica and managed to slip through.

Whenever the "celeste" plays the city becomes a ghost-town. No one is out in the street, shops close and all the employees gather around the TV.

I watch the matches with my family and my grandparents. We all sit in exactly the same places every time for good luck and wear the Uruguayan shirt. Of course, we have steak.

This is not the first time Uruguay has made it to the quarter-finals, but it is the first time my generation has witnessed it. It's like we don't realise how significant this moment is because we were brought up listening to the stories about Uruguay's greatness at the World Cup (Uruguay won the cup in 1930 and 1950).

Some people trust the team because they have shown they are united, they all fight for the same objective, so we know players will give it their best to achieve it. If you follow Diego Forlan's tweets and videos on YouTube you see how good a group they are.

I think South American teams are doing well because of the hunger for victory. Also, some of the players are already prominent figures at the European leagues , so they already have experience at playing high-level matches. So they are ready to take on the most important tournament in the world.

PARAGUAY

ABEL VILLALBA IN NEMBY:

Here in Paraguay we all paint our faces to symbolise the "grito guarani", the indigenous scream, the passion and the strength. No matter the weather, we all drink "terere", which is a cold herbal drink, like the mate, but cold.

We admire the players, their devotion and their sacrifice. Most of them live abroad so we don't see them often, but whenever they're here they are followed everywhere, as most of them were born here. Who didn't see them kicking their first footballs in the neighbourhood? We saw them grow up, succeed, fail, rise up again. The players represent the farmer, the tireless fighter.

South Americans have a very different game style and I think it has to do with the spaces where they grow up. Brazilians play in small spaces and juggle the ball because they grow up in big cities with smaller pitches. We Paraguayans are known for our aerial game, and it's because our pitches are wider and longer. Also, South Americans have that spark, they dare to break the mould, slip their markers, and switch quickly from defence to attack.

ANA SANABRIA IN ASUNCION:

We are living the World Cup with passion and the entire country is paralysed whenever Paraguay is playing.

Some people have sworn to shave their heads or walk around naked with their body painted with the flag if the team wins. But most of us just pray to the local Virgin of Caacupe.

There are also many female fans like myself. I feel very proud of the team. When we reached the quarter-finals for the first time in history, there were tears of joy.

The players are representing the country very well. And to be honest, most of them are already playing in international teams.

BRAZIL

GREIFELL BORGES ORIGINALLY FROM CRICIUMA, SANTA CATARINA, BUT CURRENTLY IN OXFORD, UK:

I usually watch the matches at home with my wife and house mates. Today's match I'll watch in a pub in Abingdon with some English friends, as we have a leaving party to celebrate from some friend that is leaving the company.

The feeling is not the same, as in Brazil the people breathe football, especially at the World Cup. Every business changes their timetable and everybody stops their activities to watch Brazil play. Here in England we don't see these things happening and we feel quite far from our country.

We feel happy to have the best results at the World Cup. I know that I'll always remember this World Cup as "the one in England" as I live here since 2008.

Historically we have the best team in the world, but the times change and we need to always strive ourselves to maintain this high level.

The Brazilian people don't feel close to the players, because most of them play outside Brazil, but the distance between players and fans have been shortened by the use of technologies such as Twitter, Facebook and Orkut.

To be honest with you, I think the success of South American teams might be down to the economic context. Some of the best Brazilian and South American players come from the slums. They don't have the money to buy electronic games and computers, so they need to play football to have fun.

And in Brazil, especially in north Brazil, we've always had good weather, which provides good conditions for these boys to play while they are kids. They prepare themselves from a very young age.

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