World Cup And Increasing Nationalism

The FIFA 2014 World Cup has become a principal aspect of many people’s lives. Doubtless, players and coaches are greatly affected by the outcomes of these games; however, fans and countries as a whole are impacted by these games. Some of these impacts are beneficial to people and nations, but some are proving to be dangerous and may get us dangerously close to a global conflict.

What is the meaning of Nationalism?

  1. patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts.
    • an extreme form of this, especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.
      plural noun: nationalisms
    • advocacy of political independence for a particular country.

( Taken from Google search)

Lets take a closer look at this definition. It has two main parts; a nation is better than other nations and a nation deserves freedom from another nation.

World War II is an incredible example of a war quickly sparked by a rush of Imperialism and then Nationalism in both imperial and colonized counties.

First, countries scramble for colonies and trade routes. This race for land and power caused rivalries between countries.

Second, after battles for land were over, the winning country would gain more pride and confidence in their battle ability and the losing country would seek revenge, making the rivalry even bigger.

For Example, after Germany obtained Alsace and Lorraine from France following a war, France sought out a chance to attack Germany and get the land back. France joined alliances with those who shared similar interests against Germany, and so Germany did the same. Countries that were colonized would want their freedom. Now, a tiny event could cause all allies to become involved and spark a major world crisis; exactly what it did following the Murder of the Austria-Hungary’s Archduke by Serbia.

This is all nationalism, as a result of wars and losses, the countries vow to work to get their country to defeat others. Countries see themselves and their allies as better than others, and so they would gladly take any measures against them to fulfill their own interest; not only that, but a strong majority of the people believe this too, making these actions even more ‘justified’.

The FIFA World Cup, a soccer tournament on a global scale. 40 teams play each other and teams with more wins move on. Seems simple and innocent, but what effects it has on countries that the teams are from are far greater and more significant.

Like any major sports event, teams represent countries or places. Many of these places take games very seriously. A win can create a sense of pride in their country, and a loss could make a country angry at their opponents. Although it may be indirect, these kinds of actions can fuel dangerous political relations and could act as a supporting reason for these kinds of tensions. If the entire game is won, a country could go into celebration and jubilation; if a major game is lost, the entire country may be plunged into dejection and shame.

Professor Laurent Dubios, founder of the blog “Soccer Politics” explains that the cup,”offers a rare chance to actually see one’s nation on the pitch. For a time the players really seem to embody the hopes of the country, so their individual backgrounds, personalities, and trajectories can take on all kinds of larger political and symbolic meanings.”

World Cup Fans. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images. June 20, 2014 | 09:50AM PT

Flags waved and body paint representative of country colors create pride and a sense of individuality and power in a country. A win, or even a chance to be in a game, may show the citizens that their country is significant; they get a chance to show the world the unique aspects of their country, including their hopes, their customs, and their culture, represented by flags and chants. Of course, this could be argued to be helpful in creating individuality between nations and showing the world all different kinds of cultures and people; however, it could also separate people and create clashes of beliefs and ideas. The games represent a battle of two entirely different kinds of people, instead of encouraging different nations to work together.

The games also bring to light political problems. Some of the effects were present in the Iran vs Nigeria game this year. The fans of Iran were clearly divided, as shown by the different flags they held. states that the flags

. . . represent three different kinds of fans articulating distinct political and cultural identities. There are fans who bring the official flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the game. They tend to be either ordinary supporters or close to the regime, if not part of the Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) or the regime’s elite. Then there are those fans who carry the traditional flag with the image of a lion and the sun. These fans express clear opposition towards the theocratic regime. And then you will see fans who are using a “neutral” flag, without any signs in the center, or just with “Iran” written on it. . . it challenges the existing Islamic Republic and its symbols by avoiding the sign of Allah.
South Korea Iran World Cup Soccer
As said earlier, paint, flags, and chants were able to represent a nations beliefs. The Iranian soccer fans express a case in which the beliefs and cultures of the people are split. This can bring attention to the different groups of a country, and separate them.
In Iran, soccer has become very important to their social and cultural life. Because of this, games have become perfect places to advertise conflicts and problems going on in their country.
After Iran won a game against Argentina in 1997, a celebration broke out in the streets of Tehran; eventually, the celebration turned into a protest.
Soccer can  prove dangerous in separating countries and the people in those countries. It may become a way to give representation to people and their beliefs, but it may work towards resolving these conflicts with a war.
Disclaimer: This article has a bunch of opinion in it. I do not fully agree with anything that I am saying, but I think that this side of the argument is under represented and so I wrote about it. I fully understand if you disagree.
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