GOAAAAAAL! Costa Rica scores again as they break World Cup history. The Costa Rican World Cup soccer team has caused quite the ruckus in the Latin American nation.
Seemingly, the World Cup reflects only a team’s soccer skills. However, deeper analysis of each country’s performance, specifically Costa Rica’s, reveals a direct connection between the World Cup and the economic and political standings of a nation. Latin American, and especially Costa Rican, success has been subject to a variety of conflicting interpretations.
This year’s World Cup has seen record breaking amounts of Latin American victory, which some say, is testament to the rise of the middle class in this formerly, notoriously impoverished region. In fact, Aljazeera International headlined one of their articles, “This World Cup Belongs to Latin Americas Middle Class.” Not only is this evident in the wins and losses, but it is also portrayed by the demographics of the World Cup attendees. Substantial numbers of Costa Ricans have followed their soccer team to Brazil, offering loyal support. Formerly, this was an activity accomplished mostly by European fans. Four of the top ten ticket buying nations are Latin American nations, which portrays the growing economies of the region.
However, Costa Rican World Cup success might also reflect a political issue. The Wall Street Journal describes the World Cup as “the world’s most peaceful demonstration of full-throated nationalism.” In regards to the Costa Rican victory, it might be better described as a demonstration of regionalism. The undefeated champions of Group D have been met by enthusiastic excitement not only from their own nation, but also from all of the Latin American countries. Latin American nations root for each other. Thus, the World Cup has become a game of Latin America verses Europe, which reflects in cultural and social separations between the two regions.
Some believe that this deep analysis of the World Cup’s social and economic effects is a waste of time. Instead, the competition is a time for people to join together and have fun. This is Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís’ approach. He granted most of the country two hours off so that they could watch the Costa Rican game against Italy, and he instilled the same procedure for the game against England. President Solis sees this as a time of celebration as opposed to a time to scrutinize Costa Rican socioeconomics. This seems to be the view most Costa Ricans share because supermarkets ran out of beer and bars ran out of alcohol after the historic victory against Italy.
Futterman, Matthew. “The World Cup: Continental Divide.” Wall Street Journal 5 June 2014: n. pag. Wall Street Journal. Web. 25 June 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-world-cup-continental-divide-1402010603>.
Gendelman, David. “Costa Rica Makes History at the World Cup.” Vanity Fair 24 June 2014: n. pag. Vanity Fair. Web. 25 June 2014. <http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/06/costa-rica-makes-history-at-the-world-cup>.
Goldblatt, David. “This World Cup Belongs to Latin America’s Middle Class.” Aljazeera 15 June 2014: n. pag. Aljazeera. Web. 25 June 2014. <http://america.aljazeera.com/blogs/worldcup/2014/6/15/this-world-cup-belongstolatinamericasmiddleclass.html>.