Monday, June 26, 2006

Geopolitics and football

The Vol-in-Law is not the biggest sports fan, but for the World Cup, he tries.

Yesterday while the Texan and I were watching Portugal v Netherlands, our eyes glued to the screen as the beautiful game descended into gutter brawling, the ViL provided us with running commentary. It was along the lines of "Ex-fascist countries do better at football than ex-communist countries, but good football doesn't seem to be compatible with stable democracy and civil liberties."

Ahhh then - England's football chances should be improving. And for that matter we should begin to see the US become a footballing phenom.
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Vol-in-Law said...

The result bore out my hypothesis, since ex-fascist Portugal defeated never-been-fascist Netherlands. Most of the best footballing countries have been fascist or Nazi - Argentina and Germany, for instance. Portugal and Spain are quite impressive, admittedly Greece isn't. No ex-Communist country has made much of a show yet. Of course it could be religion - fascism and Catholicism correlate closely, whereas most ex-Communist countries are eastern-Orthodox, and the Czech Republic are pretty good. That implies Poland ought to be good too.

Vol-in-Law said...

Perhaps the most interesting thing is how resistant Protestant countries have been to both totalitarian ideologies, Fascism and Communism - the only mostly-Protestant totalitarian state I can think of is East Germany, which was an occupied subject-state of the USSR. Nazism had its foundation in Catholic Bavaria (and Austria), although it's the Protestant north Germans who seem to feel most guilt about it. Likewise Protestant Finland successfully fought off the USSR.

Sam said...

I think a demonstrable corollary is that ex-fascist countries cheat more often and successfully than representative democracies (see Netherlands v. Portugal, and today's match). Disgusting.

Vol-in-Law said...

I agree about the cheating, the Latin countries certainly cheat a lot. My impression is that footballers from the northern European rule-of-law democracies expect life to be fair and get upset at cheating & bad refereeing, whereas those from the Latin ex-fascist states seem to see cheating and fooling the ref as just part of the game.