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DESCRIBING them as "The Fabulous Five", Orlando Pirates head of development Augusto "Njenje" Palacios says combining "the best of both worlds" has been behind the domination of South American teams in the opening round of the 2010 World Cup.
In all, five of the World Cup's eight round robin groups have been headed by South American teams, with Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay emulating the feats of accepted powerhouses Brazil and Argentina.
Amazingly too, none of the five South American teams have yet tasted defeat going into the final two days of first-round competition, while compiling a record of nine wins and three draws.
This is in direct contrast to the fortunes of the "six-pack", the African sides in the tournament, who between them have compiled a record of two wins, four draws and 10 defeats.
Palacios says: "Apart from the ingrained aptitude that the South American nations have for playing soccer, which is something you are born with, they have now inserted European discipline and a high work rate to their natural skills and innovative ability."
And led by five-time champions Brazil, Palacios says it has become a fierce passion in most South American countries to perform well in the World Cup - without no concern about cost.
"In South America," says Palacios, himself a member of the Peruvian World Cup squad in 1978, "the players learn to control the ball with all parts of their bodies - their feet, their heads, their chest and so forth.
"This helps give them an extra sense and vision."
"In South Africa you find many players who are brilliant when it comes to controlling the ball with their feet, but they cannot head very well and know little about controlling the ball with other parts of their bodies.
"In addition the South Americans have the ability of performing like an orchestra, with everyone knowing what the others are doing and combining like a single unit.
"For many years South American teams suffered from a lack of discipline and work rate in comparison to their European counterparts. Now, however, they are able to match them in these departments."
Palacios said Africa was brimming with talent, but much of it remained immature and untapped. "It is no use having an abundance of skill," he said, "if you don't know how to use it."