The Football Worldcup has entered its hot phase: The teams for the round of the last 16 is complete, and people around the world are embracing for the all-deciding playoffs. Well, not quite around the world. From the participants perspective, half of the 32 teams are already heading home. It may be half of the teams, but these do only represent some people at home: Many of the countries in the round of the last 16 are quite populous countries, as the following map reveals. It shows the worldcup participating countries resized according to their population size. The additional colour key shows quickly which countries are still in the tournament: Green represents those in the second round, whereas the red countries are out after the first round.
The map also confirms the inequality of the world of football. Not only the people of South Africa are no longer seeing their team compete, but most of the African competitors had to leave the first worldcup on the African continent early. The unequal shape of the football world is once more confirmed here, even if some of the big players already struggled (note the red patches in Europe).
Looking at population, one more map shows how few people are actually represented at the 2010 Worldcup: The following map is a world population cartogram (with updated population figures for 2010). This time, red countries are those who are (more or less) neutral observers of this event. These countries do not take part in the 2010 tournament – far more than half of the world population. Green countries are the participants (all of them, even those who are already out again), and an equal area map is added as an insect to see how some of the countries strike out with their large population:
Nevertheless, it remains a global event, with the largest audience that a sport event can get these days. So there is a lot to cheer and boo even beyond the borders of the participating nations. And in the end it’s only a game…isn’t it?