Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Politics and the World Cup

Is the World Cup political? No but certain political systems seem to have the advantage in winning. According to Franklin Foer:

Political theory, for all its talk about equality and virtue, has strangely
evaded this question. But, after 17 World Cups, there's now a mass of empirical
data, and, using the most sophisticated methods available, we can now determine the political and economic conditions that yield soccer glory.
To begin, we
must first reach back into the dustbin of history. Communism, despite its gulags
and show trials, produced great players and rock-solid teams. The Hungarian
squad of the early '50s has gone down in history as one of the best to never win
a championship. A few decades later, in 1982, the Poles finished third in the
tournament, drawing with Paolo Rossi's Italy and beating Michel Platini's France
en route. These triumphs are reflected in the overall record. In World Cup
matches against non-communist countries, the red hordes bested their capitalist
foes more often than not -- by my count, 46 wins, 32 draws, 40 losses.
But the fact remains that a communist country has never won the World Cup.

Read his entire argument here.

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