Saturday, June 10, 2006

The World of the World Cup

There seems to be something in the air with soccer. First National Geographic does a cover story on the game's international appeal, then Catholicgauze goes to a DC United game, and now something called the World Cup is going on.

There are a variety of maps available for those fans who also enjoy geography. Those with a National Geographic Magazine subscription received a revealing map of soccer's international following. Soccer is extremely popular in Europe and former Iberian and French colonies. Anglicized nations tend to be bigger fans of cricket or their own sports. The rest of the world has some soccer following but nothing that reaches the extreme of the soccer core. Women lag behind in most countries but comprise about a fourth of all soccer players in the United States.

The last two maps depict where the teams are from around the world (Hat tip: Cartography). The first map from the Washington Post shows the world imposed on a soccer field. Each country in the World Cup has a marker. When selected the marker will show the country's uniform along with basic country and soccer information. Not much but it is pretty as heck.

Fox Sport's map is not as pretty but has a ton more information. The map is of the world and allows users to click on any country in the World Cup. One can learn almost everything they want about the team, the country, and even trivia concerning the country. Paraguay's trivia is hilarious. The map is like the FIFA meets the CIA World Factbook.

Not everything is well in the soccer world however. A new "high-tech" ball is being used with mixed reviews (why can't they just use a regular ball?) and the radical Islamists are upset (no surprise) for a variety of reasons. Soccer was once was banned in Saudi Arabia and various clerics have tried to change the game so it is different from the game "infidels" play. Finally, racism is a big problem.

However, the world is coming together because of Soccer. Iran and US can play on the same field and people will be united for their love of the sport. Go peace and go fun!

Category: Sports

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