The things you wish you knew about the cultures of the 2014 World Cup

brazil world cupDuring this summer the eyes of the world are focusing on Brazil. Even in the U.S., which is still widely soccer/football-agnostic, the World Cup is raising some attention. Call it Weltmeisterschaft, mundial de fútbol, copa do mondo, coupe du monde, or campionato mondiale – the soccer World Cup is the largest world-wide, collective sporting event besides the Olympics. And at Southeast Schnitzel and Höferle Consulting we are just as ball crazy as the rest of the world. So our summer intern and executive assistant, Jesse West (who also happens to be a huge soccer fan), put together an overview of the cultures represented at the tournament. While we have strong opinions which countries will do well in Brazil, we let others analyze (and argue over) the athletic dimensions of the competing teams.

The World Cup features 32 squads in the final tournament and happens every four years. This year, the tournament is hosted by Brazil and teams from all around the globe will participate in the competition. This sports event is also a big celebration of different cultures. Of course, as hosts, Brazil’s culture will be in the foreground but the tournament will draw thousands of fans visiting the country from every culture in participation. And many more cultures will be following the World Cup on screens, online and via radio. download brazil wcSince navigating cultural differences is our core competency at Höferle Consulting, let’s take a look at the 32 participants through a cultural lens. We are going to analyze the different cultures that will be on display during the World Cup – sorted according to the groups they have been put in. Wherever possible and available we included the cultural dimensions developed by one of the gurus in the intercultural field, Geert Hofstede.

If you need help interpreting the dimensional comparison model established by Hofstede, please refer to his website or read through a recent article here on Southeast Schnitzel which should answer most of your questions.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the basics of the different cultures represented at the 2014 World Cup, you may want to get some expert statistical predictions on who has the best chance of winning the tourny. The data analysts at FiveThirtyEight have done the legwork for us. Take a look at their World Cup Predictions.

If you prefer a more light-hearted approach we recommend Alex & Jim’s outlook. Like this blog, they focus more on the U.S.-German angle:

Talking about lighthearted, just remember what Gary Lineker, former striker for the English team, said: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

Well, we shall see. In the meantime, familiarize yourself with the world’s top 32 contenders.

Everything you wish you knew about the cultures of the World Cup:

Group A   •   Group B   •   Group C   •   Group D   •   Group E   •   Group F   •   Group G   •   Group H

We have a feeling that many of you will want to share your experiences and expertise about some of the 32 cultures. Please keep in mind that we are only barely scratching the surface here. Our overview is by no means a deep excursion into the value systems of the World Cup participants. However, we encourage you to dig as deep as you want in the comment section.

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