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Guest Thinkers

World Cup Soccer’s Growing Multiculturalism

Is World Cup soccer moving away from the sort of team=country nationalism that leads to flare-ups like 1969’s “soccer war” between El Salvador and Honduras? It’s often remarked that the players on many teams this year came from immigrant families, but this interactive graphic from the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo really makes the change clear. In 1994’s cup, the lines between country-of-origin and country-played-for are mostly broad verticals, criss-crossed with a few thin veins that represent, for example, one Italian guy playing on Brazil’s team. By 2010 the thick lines are crossed with many more of these strings, representing, for instance, how Brazil’s team this year has players born in nine other nations.

It’s also a lovely piece of work, using interactivity to convey information in a way print could not. Kudos to Larry Yu for finding it.


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