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Even if South Africa is not participating in the Soccer World Cup 2018 in Russia we totally join the event.
As we all know, the 2018 Soccer World Cup is upon us with group stage matches starting on June 14th. It will be the first time this grand international soccer tournament will be held in Eastern Europe, since Russia was awarded the hosting rights by FIFA in 2010. We’ve taken advantage of the occasion and held a survey, asking our loyal players what their thoughts were about participating teams this year, who are their favourites and what are their objective predictions for the most prestigious accolade in soccer taking place all across Russia’s stadiums this summer.
Soccer is Spain’s national sport and easily the most loved sport in the country, sharing popularity with basketball and bullfighting. It was imported from the British Isles in the late 1900s and has been governed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation since 1909. Professional soccer in Spain is often viewed as a sociocultural event and is believed to be tied with politics, identity and attitudes towards regionalism in the country. Spanish soccer fans are enthusiastic, intense and passionate, and sometimes even fanatic in their cheering - certainly one of the most dedicated fan bases in Europe’s sport.
In Argentina, soccer has become a part of the collective life of society, and watching soccer matches has even become a tourist attraction. Soccer is the sport with most spectators in the country, and the Argentinian national team is prestigious and carries a lot of history. The national squad is known as La Selección or Albicelestes, which alludes to the colours of the kit and the national flag (white and sky blue). Soccer has been introduced in Argentina by a large British community in Buenos Aires in the second half of the 19th century.
In the world of soccer, Brazil is almost synonymous with the game. Soccer is the most popular sport in the country by far and there hasn’t been a World Cup competition in which the Verde-Amarela team wasn’t considered one of the favourites. In Brazil, soccer is more than a sport - for many it is a way of life. Soccer is played on playing fields across country, but also on the streets and beaches.
Soccer is the number one sport in Germany, often referred to as ‘König Fußball’ (king football). There are over 26,000 soccer clubs across Germany and the league system in the country sorts out professional play - whichever team wins the Bundesliga is crowned the German soccer champion. The year 1874 is very important in soccer history in Germany because that was the year when the Dresden English Football Club was founded as the first modern soccer club in the country and also the year when the first soccer match took place within German borders.
“The roots of our Soccer Tribe lie deep in our primeval past”, allegedly said Desmond Morris. We’re not sure which of the gentlemen came up with this interesting observation, Mr. Morris the Australian rugby league footballer, or Mr. Morris the English zoologist, but either would probably be able to tell you it’s not only people who love soccer. Members of the animal kingdom can be just as enthusiastic about this popular game, as evidenced by videos we’re sharing with you below.
In the Land Down Under, soccer is the most played outdoor team sport. As it happened with several other states, soccer was introduced to Australia in the late 19th century by mostly British immigrants. At first, the sport was hugely popular among the settlers, but not as much with the native Australians. It wasn’t until the 1950's and 60's when the sport exploded and became extremely popular among Aussies, which also love cricket and rugby.
When people talk about the birthplace of modern soccer they always list Britain (both England and Scotland) as the soil where it all began. There are many firsts regarding England and professional soccer: the world's first club (Sheffield F.C.), the first national team, the oldest national governing body (the Football Association) and the oldest national league (the English Football League), to name a few. England’s national soccer team won the World Cup once, in 1966, when the tournament was played on home soil as the Three Lions beat West Germany 4–2 in the final.
It wasn’t until the 2010s the Icelandic national team has enjoyed success on an international level. Before that, the squad wasn’t listed among the top 100 in the FIFA World Rankings. The team is nicknamed Strákarnir Okkar (Our Boys) and they’ve risen to unheard-of success despite many challenges in terms of climate and limited population. Soccer players are unable to train outdoors year-round due to freezing temperatures, so special facilities were built Keflavík with full-sized pitches and outdoor artificial pitches. Iceland also invested in training of coaches, which elevated the soccer status in the country to a higher level.
People really, really love soccer in Costa Rica. As much as 27% of Costa Rica’s population plays soccer according to a FIFA survey, ranking the Central America country #1 in soccer density. Without a doubt, soccer is the most beloved national sport for Costa Ricans and is pretty much integrated into the everyday lives of Costa Rican citizens. Every town has a soccer field, and there are matches played every weekend. Costa Rica practices soccer tourism through proper soccer tours lasting for several days. It is a concept in which tourists can get involved in the sport while vacationing on the country’s gorgeous beaches or in one of the major cities. Tourists can cheer, meet the players, and even join the game.
Nigeria is the most populous nation on the African continent, as well as the country with the largest economy in Africa; it is also a nation that shows unparalleled interest for soccer. On the international stage, the West African team, nicknamed the Super Eagles, is the top soccer contender since the 60s. The squad is governed by the Nigeria Football Federation which was formed in 1945 and joined FIFA in 1960.