Just in case you were starting to believe all those articles about how performance in the world cup is representative of some deeper national psyche, here’s what Gideon Rachman at the FT has to say:
In fact, the nice thing about international football is that it actually does not track political or economic trends. Instead it provides a sort of parallel universe with its own world order. Brazil is the “sole superpower”. The Security Council of countries that have won the World Cup more than once is completed by Argentina, Germany, Italy and Uruguay. The US is a middle-ranking power, much admired for its sense of fair play. Japan is not in decline, but flourishing. China and India – the rising powers in the real world – are nowhere to be seen, since they have not qualified for this World Cup. On Planet Football, the rising powers are largely from Africa, such as the “Black Stars” of Ghana who saw off the Americans on Saturday.