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This Year's World Cup Is a Tale of Cultural Blending, Written by Immigrants

European national teams have dominated the tournament, thanks to contributions from players whose family trees have roots around the globe.

Imagine China/NewscomImagine China/NewscomThe World Cup may seem like a celebration of tribalism, with all the national flags, anthems, and pride on display. But look closer. The story of this World Cup, which concludes Sunday with a championship match between France and Croatia, has been written by immigrants. European national teams may have dominated the event—all four semifinalist sides hailed from Europe, as did six of the eight quarterfinalists—but the teams themselves are anything but ethnic monoliths. This year's tournament is a tale of cultural blending.

French forward Kylian Mbappe has been the breakout star of the tournament and a favorite to win the Golden Ball as the World Cup's most valuable player. His father is from Cameroon and his mother came to France from Algeria. Samuel Umtiti, who scored the game-winning goal in France's semifinal victory over Belgium, was born in Cameroon. France's standout midfielders, N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, are the children of Malinese and Guinean immigrants, respectively.

Nearly half the English team, which captured much attention with its run to the semifinals, are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Perhaps none have a story as compelling as Jamaican-born Raheem Sterling, whose mother worked janitorial jobs after moving to England when her son was just 5 years old.

"I'll never forget waking up at five in the morning before school and helping her clean the toilets at the hotel in Stonebridge," he told The Players Tribune last month. "England is still a place where a naughty boy who comes from nothing can live his dream."

This World Cup's most thrilling game—Belgium's wild second-half comeback from two goals behind to defeat Japan in the second round—was a joint effort of natives and immigrants. It's hard to find a player with a more traditionally Belgian name than Jan Vertonghen, who scored the first goal to spark the rally. But without a perfectly placed header from Marouane Fellaini and a last-second goal by Nacer Chadli, both of whom were born to Moroccan parents, the comeback would have fallen short. Belgium's run to the semifinals would not have been possible without four goals from Romelu Lukaku, whose parents emigrated from Congo and were so poor that he recalls countless childhood lunches consisting of bread and watery milk.

Swiss-born Ivan Rakitić scored the game-winning goal in two of Croatia's three come-from-behind wins that helped the tiny Balkan nation reach its first-ever World Cup final. He is one of four foreign-born players representing Croatia at the tournament.

The Swiss-Balkan pipeline runs in both directions. A pair of players, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, born to parents who fled the ethnic unrest and civil war in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, helped key a surprising run to the second round for Switzerland, one of the few Western European nations without much of a history of football glory.

The story has a darker side too. After scoring goals against Serbia, both flashed Albanian double-eagle signs with their hands, which nearly led to both players getting suspended. The incident is a reminder that immigrants do not leave their old customs, sympathies, and rivalries at the door when they settle somewhere new.

The free flow of people across national borders can bring danger. But the anti-immigrant parties that highlight (and exaggerate) those dangers ignore the benefits that immigration also brings. Newcomers enliven existing culture while also providing valuable labor, often in jobs that natives refuse to do. In places like Europe, with its falling birth rates, they lift a nation's population, and its tax coffers. And they produce the next generation of football stars too.

That's not why the parents of this year's World Cup stars moved to England or Belgium or anywhere else. When she was scrubbing toilets, Sterling's mum probably didn't imagine her son would one day be a star on his adopted nation's football team—and Lulaku's parents, watering down the milk to make it last longer, probably didn't dream so big either. But surely they believed they were giving their children a shot at something better than what they would have had otherwise.

Panoramic/ZUMA Press/NewscomPanoramic/ZUMA Press/NewscomYou probably wouldn't know their names if Raheem and Romelu had gone on to start successful business or if they did nothing more than create a moderately better life for their own kids. That they are international soccer stars is something of a happy accident, but those other outcomes—paths that millions of other immigrants around the world have anonymously followed—would arguably have done even more to boost their new homelands.

France's immigrant-heavy lineup has drawn comparisons to that nation's 1998 World Cup squad, which this year's team will try on Sunday to join as World Cup champions. For its time, that team was surprisingly diverse, with players hailing from France, the Caribbean, and several African nations.

That's now the norm, rather than the exception, for the world's top teams. An analysis by The Washington Post found that 82 of the more than 700 players on this year's World Cup rosters represent countries where they were not born. That's possible, in part, because the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has looser rules about which nations players can represent than, say, the International Olympic Committee. Once a soccer player makes one appearance on the roster of a national team, he cannot transfer to another. But before that first appearance, players are eligible for any nation where they are citizens, or for countries where their parents have citizenship, and in some circumstances even for their grandparents' lands. Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj may have been eligible for as many as seven different national teams, according to the Post.

That makes modern international football less a test of national bloodlines and more a competition over who has the best melting pot. "In England we've spent a bit of time being lost as to what our modern identity is, and I think as a team we represent that modern identity," English coach Gareth Southgate told ITV before the tournament started.

After England's best World Cup run since 1990, few could argue that diversity was a problem for the team.

America did not qualify for this World Cup this year. Our best hope to avoid that shame in 2022 rests with young players like Christian Pulisic, whose grandparents came to America from what is now Croatia, and Timothy Weah, who was born in New York to Liberian parents. (His father is currently president of the west African nation.) It may rest with future stars whose parents are just now trying to find their way here, struggling to scratch out a life.

They'll be American, just like Lukaku is a Belgian.

"I grew up in Antwerp, and Liège and Brussels. I dreamed of playing for Anderlecht," Lukaku writes in a self-profile for The Players Tribune. "I'll start a sentence in French and finish it in Dutch, and I'll throw in some Spanish or Portuguese or Lingala, depending on what neighborhood we're in. I'm Belgian. We're all Belgian. That's what makes this country cool, right?"

That's what makes the World Cup cool, too.

Photo Credit: Imagine China/Newscom

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  • Vernon Depner||

    Professional sports teams hiring foreign players is "cultural blending"? Please.

  • Bubba Jones||

    No, it's immigrant assimilation!

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....SKCN10S235

    Or maybe not.

  • The Narrator||

    In this thread, Cathy L makes excuses and dodges the fact that she called me a liar based on her own incorrect "presumptions"

  • The Narrator||

    Cathy thinks that when she has no facts, she can hide behind her incorrect presumptions.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    This is classic Tulpa behavior. I told you, Cathy, ignore new usernames.

  • The Narrator||

    In this thread, Cathy L is caught lying on several occasions. When forced to deal with it, she runs away instead.

  • Cathy L||

    That's an interesting way of putting it when you were the one caught lying. Of course, you didn't run away. You scrambled.

  • The Narrator||

    You called me a liar based on your own "presumption" which was incorrect.

    That makes you indisputably a liar. Factually.

  • The Narrator||

    In this thread, Cathy L makes excuses and dodges the fact that she called me a liar based on her own incorrect "presumptions"

  • Cathy L||

    Why don't you just stop scrambling and admit you were talking shit to begin with?

  • The Narrator||

    Je gagne Cathy et vous êtes des ordures.

    Parce que je n'étais pas.
    Vous avez cependant menti et vous êtes pris dans ce fil. Vous m'avez appelé un menteur basé sur vos présomptions incorect. Ce qui fait de toi un menteur.

    You lied Cathy. About speaking French, and about me, and I caught you

  • The Narrator||

    I'm not surprised she ran.

  • gphx||

    She ran because you're coming across like an obsessed nut job. Stop being such a whiny, sensitive pussy and settle the fuck down.

  • Cathy L||

    You can't even decide which second-person pronoun you want to use to insult me, but sure, you're the one genuinely speaking French. And are you purposely using incorrect, masculine forms to refer to me, or just clueless?

  • gphx||

    Nobody cares whether you can talk gay or not.

  • fatcyst||

    God, its such a BS argument. Why aren't the african teams any good?

    And I wonder if anyone thinks winning is worth cultural suicide?

  • Homple||

    Therefore, open borders. Right?

  • MarioLanza||

    Yep. That is the logical conclusion, right? The US has the highest number of immigrants.

  • Homple||

    Therefore, open borders. Did I get it?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The open border people don't like to be made fun of.

  • Echo Chamber||

    "I'll start a sentence in French and finish it in Dutch, and I'll throw in some Spanish or Portuguese or Lingala, "
    Because nobody expects me to speak coherently. I play soccer

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Lukaku was answering reporters' questions seamlessly switching between Dutch, Portugese, and French. He also speaks English and German. How many languages do you speak?

  • The Narrator||

    3, 2 of which Lukaku was usung, poorly, not seamlessly.

    But that won't stop you from getting your panties wadded like you do every time anyone doesn't unrepentantly slurp immigrants.

  • The Narrator||

    3, 2 of which Lukaku was using, poorly, not seamlessly.

    But that won't stop you from getting your panties wadded like you do every time anyone doesn't unrepentantly slurp immigrants.

  • Cathy L||

    LOL, which ones? Because his English is fluent, and his accent isn't even that heavy.

  • The Narrator||

    Dutch and French. I was in Den Bosch on business in April. When was the last time you were there? And which of them do YOU speak?

    Right.

  • Cathy L||

    French, and his French sounds fine as well.

  • The Narrator||

    No, it really doesn't it is slightly broken and halting.

    Frankly, I also don't believe you, I think you're just that brand of commentator that comes rushing to the defense of someonen and will say whatever you need to in order to win the point.

    Translate my post into French and prove me wrong.

  • The Narrator||

    And... Just so you know, the business I was in Den Bosch doing was related to my language school. Google translate isn't gonna help you.

  • Cathy L||

    I'm supposed to translate your post into French to prove I speak it and am not lying about Lukaku, and you are supposed to do what exactly to prove the same thing of yourself? Give me a break.

  • The Narrator||

    So you don't speak French. That was fairly obvious already.

  • Cathy L||

    You could have offered to translate one of my posts into French. I guess it's clear who doesn't want to back himself up.

  • The Narrator||

    Vous auriez pu offrir à Vous pourriez avoir offert de traduire un de mes messages en français. Je suppose que c'est clair qui ne veut pas se soutenir.

    Your turn.

  • Cathy L||

    I'm sure that wasn't a copy/paste error you made there?

    Alors vous ne parlez pas français. C'était déjà assez apparent.

  • Cathy L||

    What I love is that anyone here could copy/paste my post into Google Translate and see that your translation matches it. And if they copy/paste your post into Google Translate, they'll see that mine doesn't. Ain't life grand.

  • The Narrator||

    "What I love is that anyone here could copy/paste my post into Google Translate and see that your translation matches it"

    What I love is that you think being correct is a problem.

    I guess that's how you think you win here? By making obvious mistakes a French speaker would never make and then saying "AHA! My mistakes make me a better French speaker"

    "And if they copy/paste your post into Google Translate, they'll see that mine doesn't"

    Presumably because it's not correct French.

    However, I appreciate that you admit you had to use a mechanical translator.

  • The Narrator||

    Your post is what one gets you run my post through a mechanical translator.

    It is fairly clear from what you've posted that you dont't speak French and thought you could fake your way through it.

    The stilted, unnatural flow makes it quite obvious.

    Pourquoi es-tu un menteur si dégoûtant? Il est évident pour tout le monde que vous êtes juste un imbécile et un clown en utilisant l'un de vos nombreux pseudonymes.

    Stop met posten

  • The Narrator||

    And now that it has been definitively proven (admitted to) that Cathy does not actually speak French and relied on Google, I have actual work to do.

    Je bent niet slim genoeg om je mee bezig te houden.

  • Cathy L||

    Your post is what one gets you run my post through a mechanical translator.

    Uhhhhh I literally just said that yours is what one gets if one runs mine through a mechanical translator. Anyone can check this. That you are the one who thought he could fake his way through it. Stilted, unnatural flow my ass. You're unbelievably full of shit.

  • The Narrator||

    Yes Cathy, you admotted you needed and used Google.

  • The Narrator||

    "Uhhhhh I literally just said that yours is what one gets if one runs mine through a mechanical translator. "

    Presumably because it is correct.

    ". That you are the one who thought he could fake his way through it"

    By beung correct. That is a solid way to fake things...

    "Stilted, unnatural flow my ass. You're unbelievably full of shit."

    Said the person who admitted relying on a mechanical translator.

    Sorry Cath, your French is error filled and childish, you obviously had a few classes and thought YOU could fake it.

  • Cathy L||

    Sorry Cath, your French is error filled and childish, you obviously had a few classes and thought YOU could fake it.

    Sad!

  • The Narrator||

    But true.

  • The Narrator||

    It's what posting from an airport on a tablet looks like.

    At least I didn't have to use Google or any other translator as you have admitted you have done. Sorry for the mistake, I supose it is easier when you have Google doing your work for you.

  • Cathy L||

    Yeah, I admitted I checked to see if you were lying, and you were. That really makes me look bad.

  • The Narrator||

    If you spoke French you wouldn't need to check my French.

    You used Google because you didn't understand it. Your excuse doesn't even make sense to a child.

  • Cathy L||

    I didn't need to "check your French." I was checking to see whether you used Google Translate to come up with it. You did, you got pwned, and now you can't shut up about it.

  • The Narrator||

    Seeing as you're the one admitting to using Google translate, and making up a silly excuse for doing so...

  • The Narrator||

    "You did, you got pwned, and now you can't shut up about it"

    Ah, and now we see why you keep coming back to try and conjure a reason to use a translator for a language you presumably speak.

    You keep admitting things without being smart enough to know you're doing it.

  • The Narrator||

    By the way, I love the "pwned" it really speaks to basically everything I said about you being true.

  • The Narrator||

    "you were lying"

    About wha pray tell? My French being French? You said Google translated it as your post, so it clearly was French.

    You seem to be losing the plot now, is it because you realize your admission that you used Google gives your game away? Of course it is.

  • The Narrator||

    So now that it has been firmly establsihed by Cathy's own admission that she both cannot understand and cannot speak French, and relies on Google to do it for her, I really do have work to do.

    Chin up old girl.

  • The Narrator||

    Still waiting on the answer here. Kind of douchey of you to call someone a liar then run away when you get caught lying yourself Cathy.

  • Cathy L||

    Remember how above, I shouldn't use Google Translate because you work for a language school and would be able to tell? Presumably because GT is imperfect? But later it was proof that your French was correct when yours matched it? Good times.

  • The Narrator||

    So I didn't lie and you admitted you had to use Goolge.

    Good times indeed.

    What I find hilarious is that you keep pointing out that correct French translates correctly, as though that is proof of anything other than your poor grasp of French and your need to use Google.

    What, my correct French shouldn't translate? Lie your error filled French doesn't?

    Lol.

  • The Narrator||

    I mean, the more she posts it, the dumber it looks.

    "You don't speak French because when I use Google to translate it it comes back perfect"

    Yes Cathy, that's what knowing how to properly speak a language looks like.

    Perhaps you'll improve your own French and it will happen to you one day.

  • The Narrator||

    And, it also explains why you think Lukaku's French is fine, you speak it as poorly as he does.

  • The Narrator||

    "Presumably because GT is imperfect? "

    Um, I didn't say that Cathy. So, your entire premise that I lied is based on an assumption you made, which kind of makes you a liar for saying I lied.

  • The Narrator||

    Yeah, I would also run away from the implications my own presumption and the fact that it caused me to lie about someone if I were you Cathy.

  • Cathy L||

    Your ass is hanging out, buddy, no matter how many times you post about how I'm the liar.

  • The Narrator||

    You posted it. It's your own words, Cathy, not mine.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Wow, I could understand the French in both your posts, and I haven't studied it since dropping out of French class in high school. Chatting with Algerians in the past 12 months taught me plenty. I guess it was all a matter of having the proper motivation.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I tend to ignore randos like this The Narrator dude. Who the fuck is this guy? We never heard of him. Establish some cred here, and then I will listen. Otherwise, you are just another Tulpa sock.

  • The Narrator||

    "I tend to ignore randos like this The Narrator dude"

    By posting and talking about them. Ok Cathy.

  • The Narrator||

    Ok, I see what happened, you got upset by my pointing out that you were bitching about bitching, and decided to one up yourself by ignoring a person without ignoring them.

  • VOTE MILES||

    Rando needs to establish street cred for Chipper. Because that's how Chipper rolls.

    Also, Narrator sounds like an asshole, just like Chipper.

  • The Narrator||

    I admit I am an asshole to people who lie about speaking French to push their politics.

    As to the "cred" thing, what kind of socially stunted idiot thinks anyone should care? It's the lowest form of ad hominem, and should be above people with any self respect or credibility of their own.

    But it wasn't.

  • VOTE MILES||

    Speaking of socially stunted, I can assure you that no one with any self-respect would find himself in a dick-swinging contest with a complete stranger in the comment section of a fringe political blog, boasting about his second language proficiency.

  • gphx||

    Just a sec, be right with you, I have to go oui oui.

  • swain||

    Cathy finds it hard to beleive that other people are multilingual, even though Lukaku is multilingual. This is not because she is a bigot against Americans, it's because she's stupid.

  • Cathy L||

    I don't find that hard to believe at all. The Narrator seems to, though.

  • The Narrator||

    That doesn't even make sense, like your French.

    Perhaps you should stop using Google.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    We all know it's bloody racist to express an opinion about which version of English is proper. Get with the programme, Cathy. He doesn't have an accent; you do.

  • Echo Chamber||

    "How many languages do you speak?"

    One per sentence

  • The Narrator||

    Careful, he'll be back to use all the tired "you're just a typical provincial American!!!" and then he'll have a latte and a good cry about it.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Oye, good answer.

  • Rhywun||

    Unless he's a professional linguist, he's not speaking more than one or two of those with any great level of fluency.

  • ||

    Unless he's a professional linguist, he's not speaking more than one or two of those with any great level of fluency.

    And, unless you're a linguist, speaking multiple languages is near literally a parlor trick, especially in this day and age. Even when it meant something it was more of a display of means and aristocracy than of actual intellect. Most 4-yr.-olds can learn a new language and evidence strongly suggests that pre-teens are not just more capable of doing so but more adept than most adults (even the reeeally, reeeally smart adults). Now, unless you're using you linguistic knowledge to translate texts or resurrect dead cultures, you can get a functional translation out of a machine, and play sports, which require between 0 and 1 language to play, better.

    A soccer player knows several languages, so what? I know a half dozen card games off the top of my head that I could beat 95+% of the people off the street at without even trying (and that's not even scratching the surface of my board game acumen). Sure, I'd probably be worse than a third of the people who *only* play solitaire on their devices on a daily basis and 1-2 of the games I know aren't really played anywhere outside the Midwest (like Dutch) but the point is... 6! 6 card games!

  • ||

    How many languages do you speak?

    1. Not being a soccer fan or a polyglot of any acclaim, I've got to ask, will Lukaku and his be playing for the Cup?

    2. A trivial glance on Youtube shows me that, in 2017, there were at least 14 international soccer stars who could speak 4 or more languages. So, I think the question becomes why *wouldn't* you expect Lukaku to speak 4-5 languages or why is it at all exceptional?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Great article, thanks. Ignore the bitching natives that have probably never even seen a passport.

  • The Narrator||

    So, not YOUR bitching, but OTHER bitching?

  • ||

    Terrible article.

    Sports has been multicultural and immigrant-friendly since before Jackie Robinson and Lou Castro. The idea that this year's world cup is somehow unique isn't even retarded.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • ||

    The World Cup is an even more blatant disgusting display of tribal nationalism than the Olympics (did you see pubs overflowing in London for the Olympics? didn't think so...) and now were supposed to celebrate that because of the individual backgrounds of some of the players?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    So you prefer the Champions League?

  • Fk_Censorship||

    The champions league has actual soccer.
    The world cup is more of a circus. A chance for women and people who don't understand soccer to cheer for a team.
    Not that's it's a bad thing - but you can't compare the World cup to the champions league.

  • jcw||

    I don't even know hot to digest this post. Care to explain what "actual soccer' is? Out of the 27 players that were in the champions league final, I think 18 of them are/were at the world cup.

    They don't practice together every day, which is maybe what you meant. But i'm curious how that makes it fake soccer.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    I mean the level of the game at the world cup is almost amateurish. Soccer is not like basketball where you can throw 5 talented guys together and have them dominate. It takes a lot of synchronicity and even the best players in the world are useless when isolated from a system or when thrown randomly together with other guys.
    If you look at this past World Cup, you'll see teams are unable to attack. Even the best ones. Most goals were scored from set plays (when the ball is stopped, for a corner kick or a free kick). Watching teams try to score is painful. Maybe that's why people who aren't into soccer think that the sport is so boring and lame - because they just watch the World Cup. And in that case they are right, it's a sorry spectacle.
    If they would watch the Champions' League in the spring (when the better teams are playing), they might have a totally different impression. (Most goals there are scored during the run of play, and the plays themselves are very spectacular).

  • Benitacanova||

    Soccer sucks. They look like Irish dancers.

  • The_Hoser||

    I'm pretty sure Irish dancers actually have to be punched before they roll around in agony.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Reason doesn't appear to be letting me post today.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    They won't let me post links, but non link comments get through.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Just wait a few minutes. Go have a cuddle with your waifu pillow or something. The comments will appear eventually. The squirrels are active today, and they are restless and looking for blood.

  • ||

    The squirrels are out in full force. Just ignore them.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You just have to wait your turn. it'll eventually go in.

  • MikeP2||

    Funny how you don't acknowledge that all of those mentioned were 'legal' immigrants.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • smalleyd||

    Don't worry, Reason will just brush aside your sources and ones like this too - Report: More than half of immigrants on welfare.

    #morecheaplaborplease

  • HGW xx/7||

    That's what makes the World Cup cool, too.

    Yes, it's humbling to know there are so many melodramatic soap stars spanning the globe who can fake an injury so aptly that Charlie Chaplin weeps with pride from the grave.

    #NorASport

  • HGW xx/7||

    *#NotASport

    ...though 'nor' isn't that far off.

  • Sevo||

    Are the 'players' required to join SAG? If not, why not?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Soccer was cool in like elementary school.

    To each their own.

  • Bearded Spock||

    "The free flow of people across national borders can bring danger."

    NO. WAY.

    Has any mentioned this to Shikha?

    And you just lost your invitation to tomorrow night's Georgetown cocktail party, Boehm.

  • HGW xx/7||

    How many times a day do you think Shikha gets asked in conversation with friends: "So, wait, you aren't a progressive? Why not just make it official and move on already?"

  • ||

    I assumed it had gotten to the point that people just get preened under their breath before meeting her. Like DiCaprio as Calvin Candie, the Francophile from Django Unchained.

  • Rhywun||

    Amusingly left unsaid is the reason that France, England, et al. have so many immigrants from certain countries is because those countries used to be colonies.

  • Sevo||

    So this is part of the reparations?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    To some extent, yes. Poland is not known for accepting many immigrants, because Poland never captured large parts of Africa and forced the kids there to learn Polish. France, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Spain, and the UK get many immigrants from former colonies where people still have cultural and familiar ties to those countries.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Switzerland never colonized the Balkans, yet it's practically the Albanian national team.

  • Rhywun||

    Obviously, it's not a universal rule. Maybe Switzerland encouraged the self-importation of a lot of Albanians in the fifties or something. (That's how Germany got so many Turks.)

  • Fk_Censorship||

    The Russian player who missed the spot kick against Croatia in the penalty shootout doesn't even speak Russian. Fernandes was born in Brazil and he uses a translator during interviews with the Russian press.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Brazilians meddling in Russian soccer?

  • Mickey Rat||

    That is what I was thinking about the French and English players. It can be easily argued that they are a legacy of imperialism more than just simple immigration.

  • ||

    Colonies which have long since separated...now all of a sudden they must accept these "refugees" (read: not immigrants)

  • Rhywun||

    And they produce the next generation of football stars too.

    Another job Europeans won't do.

  • Rhywun||

    Crap, the author pre-empted my joke and I missed it. Well-played.

  • Nardz||

    I like Lukaku. Dude is a beast.
    Still, he was nonexistent vs France

  • ||

    I was going to write that after I finished reading some of the comments.

    He also seemed a tad aloof.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why do the teams represent countries? Why don't we just have amorphous blobs of carbon playing other amorphous blobs of carbon until someone scores a goal, and then the crowd waves a beige flag?

  • Rhywun||

    "Teams" are uncomfortably collectivist, aren't they.

  • JFree||

    This is all just a foreign conspiracy to force the US to watch boring events that accomplish nothing, end in a tie, and then change the rules cuz otherwise no one would ever get to go home again.

    If a foreigner can't assimilate to real sports, then they should not be allowed to enter the US

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Soccer sucks.

  • jcw||

    And I wonder why the US couldn't qualify for the world cup. We lost to Trinidad & Tobago!

  • sharmota4zeb||

    There's a reason a park in my town has a monument to Joe DiMaggio and one to Christopher Columbus. Immigrants and their kids are more likely to excel in sports, such as baseball, and technical fields, such as navigation, where culture specific knowledge is less essential to success. :)

  • MikeP2||

    "Immigrants and their kids are more likely to excel in sports, such as baseball, and technical fields, such as navigation, where culture specific knowledge is less essential to success.

    That's a crock of shite.

    All sports require dedication at a very early age...well before teens....because identification starts in the teens and peak athletic performance soon after. The most common denominator among athletic stars is either poverty, broken homes, early psychological trauma, or being trapped below an artificial ceiling.
    It has nothing to do with immigrants directly. Outside of the likelihood of recent immigrants having one or more of the above factors.
    Trials in life at an early age break most people, but a small percentage appear to be honed to something special and differentiated.

  • JFree||

    Columbus is hardly an example of excellence in navigation. He's an example of complete luck. He didn't have a clue re the size of the Earth and position of Asia - by the standards of his own day. Was rejected by the Portuguese for estimating that his voyage would need to be stocked for a 4000 km distance (to where he estimated Japan was) - actual distance to Caribbean 6200 km. Asked for more money (enough to get to where he thought Asia itself was - 7000 km) from Spanish - which was luckily able to get him to then-unknown islands which Columbus never (even after three further voyages) actually believed were previously-unknown but were simply part of Asia. Hell - he never thought Cuba was an island - he thought it was a peninsula of Asia.

  • ||

    Meh. It was mostly indirectly Italian money anyway.

    https://bit.ly/2NKCJAa

  • Vernon Depner||

    That's the official story. It's bunk. Columbus knew exactly where he was going—probably because he had been there before. The existence of America had been known to Europeans for centuries before Columbus, as was the size of the Earth. Columbus's knowledge of ocean currents gave him the unique ability to sail in either direction across the Atlantic at any time of year—that was his great achievement. He could never admit that the places he visited were "previously-unknown" because that would have meant admitting that he had defrauded his investors, from whom he had extracted funds by promising a shortcut to Asia.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Lost me at "tribalism"...

  • Benitacanova||

    Because native bad. Foreign good.

    Except when it's colonialism on the plate.

  • ||

    Go Croatia.

    I go for the most homogeneous teams.

  • Truthteller1||

    Cultural blending? No its legal citizens representing their country. Grow up.

  • XM||

    "The World Cup may seem like a celebration of tribalism"

    That's exactly what it is. And I'm pretty certain that immigrant players in Euro teams (at least in public or in the clubhouse) do not behave like NFL players or "hyphenated" minorities in America. They probably have the national identity ingrained into them more than any non white American athletes.

    It's a good thing that national teams are willing to include top foreign born players, but that's not unusual. Japan won the WBC twice and DR won it once. Korea was a runner up. Those were mostly "monolith" teams. Are they somehow lesser than more "diverse" teams?

    The notion that the WC is a "melting pot" is a nice sentiment, but in reality that tournament can become ugly in so many ways. The Mexican fans did their usual thing, female reporters were groped on air, and FIFA apparently warned the media not to focus on attractive female soccer fans in the stand. Soccer might be the most corrupt sports on earth.

  • ||

    FIFA, IOC and Boxing. The axis of corruption.

  • JeremyR||

    It illustrates the difference between skilled labor and unskilled labor.

    Hiring the best talent in the world improves your country. Flooding your country with hordes of unskilled people who don't even speak your language and will immediately go on welfare does not.

  • ||

    Exactly, the only problem with this however, is that you deplete the skilled legal immigrant's nation of that skilled worker, where they may be far more needed.

  • lulz farmer||

    A flourishing culture doesn't place a high emphasis on kickball and other bread & circuses, anyway. I don't care if my country doesn't win at sports. I care about whether my descendants will actually have a country where they won't be at risk of being enslaved or beheaded by the new majority ethnic outgroup rulers who see us as a resource to exploit.

  • Echospinner||

    I do not think immigration is the point.

    There are always what we loosely refer to as minority groups. In any line drawn a map.

    Sports and entertainment come to mind as areas where the lines drawn between "us" and "them" blur quickly. In those fields all that matters is performance. If you can hit a 3 pointer better than anyone, make me laugh, or throw a baseball faster nobody seems to care much about anything else.

    So does that trickle down to the rest of us ordinary people who are not superstars?

    Not so much.

    The internal resolution for bigots and group thinkers is "sure there are some good ones but most of them..."

    "People are all exactly alike. There's no such thing as a race and barely such a thing as an ethnic group. If we were dogs, we'd be the same breed. George Bush and an Australian Aborigine have fewer differences than a Lhasa apso and a toy fox terrier. A Japanese raised in Riyadh would be an Arab. A Zulu raised in New Rochelle would be an orthodontist. People are all the same, though their circumstances differ terribly."

    P.J.O'Rourke

  • gphx||

    Aren't authors supposed to send soccer articles to Out Magazine?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Perhaps I'm being somewhat ridiculous, but I thought the World Cup was a big soccer tournament.

  • Eman||

    This is exactly the kind of content i come to this website tor. Nice work.

  • ||

    The hypocrisy of these "diversity is our religion" cult members goes on full display when you talk about any place other than the West. They go full retard in defence mode, especially when you bring up the newest apartheid practices in South Africa, or the water tight seal on immigration in Asia. You can't have a welfare state and open immigration, everyone knows this, the only people pushing for these are the globalists and the indoctrinated.

  • lulz farmer||

    It's because it's an attack on the white western world. It's not supported to be coherent. They think "food and kickball" is a coherent argument for why we should welcome being dispossessed and effaced off the earth.

  • John Rohan||

    Isn't this more a story of wealthy countries being able to pay for the best players, while poorer countries are cut out of the deal? Either directly or indirectly, that's what's happening here.

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