I realize that at this point in our duel, I'm supposed to rebut what Stephen just said. But the fact of the matter is that I agree with him. South America really is a "land of coups, hyperinflation, debt defaults, and generally poor performance." On the plus side, though, it's a land of opportunity, where any young cocaine grower can grow up to become president of his country.

So rather than disagree with Stephen, I'll use this space to list just a few more of the many companies flocking to invest in Russia, whose example you should imitate:

  • Movie theater builder/operator IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX), which a few months ago announced plans to build four more theaters in Russia through 2008, doubling its presence in the country.

  • Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), which bought Russia's second-largest juice producer in 2005.

  • Alcoa (NYSE:AA), which early last year snapped up two Russian aluminum plants.

  • GE (NYSE:GE), which in 2004 stole a march on Citigroup (NYSE:C) by purchasing one of Russia's leading providers of mortgage loans and credit cards. GE's investment, by the way, was quickly followed by similar bank-buys by France's Societe Generale and Italy's Banca Intesa.

  • Meanwhile, hoping to get hold of some of those retail banking customer dollars on the other end of the teller line are Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) and CKE Restaurants (NYSE:CKR), both of which are expanding their presence in the Motherland.

I could go on, describing the R&D centers that Intel and Google have set up in Russia, or the Boeing design center, the new Microsoft MSN division ... but you get the point. Everyone who is anyone wants to invest in Russia. You should, too.

Eastern Europe is facing South America in this Investing World Cup match. Go back to the intro page to navigate your way to another part of this contest, and then vote for the region that you think should advance to the next round of the tournament.

Intel, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Valuepicks. IMAX is aMotley Fool Rule Breakerspick. Take your favorite investing newsletter for a free, 30-day spin.

Looking for more investment ideas? We've got a ton of them. Just click here to order a copy of the The Motley Fool International Stock Report: Around the World in 80 Minutes to see what all the fuss is about.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position, short or long, in any company mentioned in this article.

This article represents the opinion of one Fool and should in no way be taken as the opinion of either The Motley Fool, Inc., or the company in question, or as representative of anyone or anything other than that specific Fool's thoughts. So before buying, do your homework and review The Motley Fool's superbly sportsmanlike disclosure policy.