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The World Cup in Brazil did not start well for Europe. Spain, England, Portugal, Italy – one after the other, supposed European powerhouses were kicked out in a first round, usually overwhelmed by Latin American talent.

There were some exceptions of course – Germany and the Netherlands carried European hopes into the semi-finals. Belgium, Switzerland and Greece punched above their weight.

For European fans disappointed with the departure of their national team, where do you channel your football fervour? Do you show European solidarity and cheer on those still carrying forward the continent’s hopes? Or are you more likely to want Brazilian flair or Argentina’s tight teamwork to prevail over your country’s traditional European rivals?

Even ahead of the quarterfinal clash between France and Germany the France24 TV network suggested French fans might put national pride behind them and support their “favourite enemy.” The Germans after all were playing a much cleaner game, they are amusing, talented and it’s always fun to watch Chancellor Angela Merkel’s celebrations, argued journalist Sébastian Seibt. He added one more reason to cheer for Germany: “It’s always nice…to support the winning team when the final whistle blows.”

Some have gone even further and suggested pan-European teams – like the one that frequently beats the United States in golf’s Ryder Cup – could be adopted for other major events. They point out that combined EU medal tallies at the Olympics would leave the opposition languishing in Europe’s wake – competitors from EU countries picked up 37 golds at this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, ahead of Russia on 13 and Norway on 11.

Will you be rooting for a European victory in Brazil regardless which country brings the trophy back across the Atlantic? Does European success in sports make people feel more European? Or is football one arena where even convinced pro-Europeans can let their national feelings run free and cheer for whoever manages to humiliate the old foes from next door? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Sam Javanrouh

179 comments Post a commentComment


  1. Alex Tselentis

    Uuuuhhh no .. What does a sport, kicking a ball around for 90 minutes have to do with a never ending financial crisis, endless austerity, growing division, abloodbath in Ukraine etc etc have to do with feeling “more European” since when did Europeans stop being or feeling European ???

    • Javier

      Bravo! I was thinking the same.

  2. Eurovision2006

    Yes, I’m from Ireland and have been cheering the Netherlands on from the beginning.

  3. Jaume Roqueta

    stupid questions like this make me feel more european… I thought this happened just in Spain!… thank you!… now I belive Spainish people are very well prepared to be integrated in Europe!.

  4. Alvaro Gellon

    That’s a load of waffle mate. Also the Netherlands don’t deserve to win it. If it’s gonna be a European win I’d rather Germany tbh.

  5. Joaquim José Rocha

    Portugal made wrong choice of players. They to the Copa not with the best but with friends. The Copa was not a Weekend friendship match. Out!!!

  6. Matthijs Overhaal

    Teams at the Worldcup are first and foremost a national identification for people. So I guess it will mostly spark national pride if a European team would win. I believe that most people wouldn’t even mention ‘a victory for Europe’. It would be interesting to see what happens at a continental football cup.

  7. Jaume Roqueta

    Do you think a war between Rusia and USA will make people feel more european?… what side does the European Comission Suport? …ou dont answer.. we know is USA!

  8. Timo Marcus Lange

    No. It is national teams competing. There is not a European Team. So, why and how should this feeling be created?

  9. P-Trix Medley

    Feel more european? Like really? Thats total garbage. Anyways a european side wont win. It will be mighty argentina.

  10. Akmal Ali

    yes….if we look to the world cup of 1998 ownwards only one team played from south america and four team from urope played finalzzz…..from 98 own wards 3 times europe won cup …..so definitely the game will be europian if any country from there won:::::::::::but arg and messi wont allow to happen that

  11. Nita Ovidiu

    There is no such thing.I am 100% European and there is nothing that can make me less European or more European.

  12. Ramarolahy Flavien Modeste

    If American or European will win the world,nothing will happen bcause,we,all, are one,in one globe….we’ll clap for those who will win and we’ll clap again for those who are lost bcause they’ve tried their best…..nothing change bcause they remain as a good human person….

  13. Raúl Durán Mayoral

    i think nonense…we think only in our nationalities. if we would think at an “european level” we would have much more respect of other world regions!! and we would go to vote as well for the eu pairlament!!

  14. James McManama

    Go Netherlands!! :-D Seriously, I don’t care if a European or any team wins. It won’t make me feel any more (or less) European. If anything, seeing everybody play in the World Cup makes me feel more a “Citizen of the World”! :-D

  15. John Kalaba

    not at all! de winning country will not share de glory with other european countries! esply dat spain lost terrably 2de dutch!its enemity till revenge!

  16. Tee-dayas Godia

    Very nonsense since most European teams were highly favoured by the refferees-i pray that brazil wont make it 2day

  17. Francesca Signori

    We should play an Intercontinental cup made by selected European players against Latin american, North american, Asian and African selected players. I think this would work.

  18. Kivan Cheekoory

    I hve gne 2 many european n amerian countries i love both of them. We r all the same no matter who win. Love u the world

  19. Christos Mouzeviris

    No, not really!!! We still value our nationality more than our Europeaness!! But I will be delighted if a European team wins.

  20. Gabriele Mogni

    That’s a possibility, although it has happened plenty of times before and it has never given rise to more Europeanness! If anything, the winning team has witnessed a massive surge in national pride….

  21. Edmund Vukani Thabethe

    I wish Netherlands win this one,since they’ve been to 3 finals before,I think 1974,1978 and 2010.So its only fair if this generaion should take this one.

  22. Tiago Mouta

    I suppose there is also an explanation relating the economic status of the two european countries in the semi finals of the world cup, Germany and Nederlands… But wait, that´s the point, cleaning slates for EU, with the world cup… Sorry, no way! Don´t like the colosseum phenomena of modern times…

  23. Cla Carr

    I would feel more European If Italy had sovereign power to issue its own currency again

  24. Jay-Ann Csom Fernandez

    Italy was doing pretty damn good in this worldcup. Until hannibal cannibal felt like it was time to attack ppl. Portugal should b a shamed they did nt play as good as i expected them too nd so should Spain. Kmt

  25. Jaume Roqueta

    Yes! now I feel European… it seems you guys are more stupid than my colleges of spain… 100 coments on this bullshit question when typically there are just 3 or 4…. We say in spain that if people is more interested in football than politics we have no future… but today I see spanish people is much more clever than europeans as we typically discuss on politics and not football on political webpages…

  26. Ogbole Moses

    If european country should win this world cup it’s because there worked hard,other continents are hungry for the world cup but no hard work towards it.

  27. Jaume Roqueta

    Do you think the bombing of Israel on Gaza is jusrified?… shut up and speack on football!

  28. Suman Bhatta

    In my view none of team can play better than european..so,i would like to watching european vs indo american…my predection for brazil vs germany is brazil will win over germany n dutch team will win over argeintina…so, in final brazil vs dutch team …dutchteam going to lift the worldcup…dutch team are like a hungry tiger..!

  29. Breogán Costa

    If that works, I hope some European team works, but also EU has to help people to feel more Europeans, and less bank + transnational slaves

  30. Pedro Redondeiro

    I personally do not like football however, i think it is starting to be noticed that the european fans, are closer to each other, that is indeed a fact. Although just like Breogán Costa said, the EU needs to make a lot to make people feel more europeans, Socially and economically speaking.

  31. Juan

    Since my team (Spain) is not in the competition, I support the rest of the European teams, I’d be glad if, at least, a European team wins

  32. Jovan Ivosevic

    The world cup is designed to bring out nationalism, not pan europeanism. If the Germans lose to the Dutch in the final, I am quite sure they will not be celebrating.

  33. Hamza Serry-Senhaji

    The only sport event that makes me feel more “European” is when team Europe beats team USA at the Ryder Cup (golf tournament).

  34. Parthena Papadopoulou

    It function like this. I am from kozani greece, if had gone peloponese Greece i would be macedonia greece, if i had gone england i would be greek, if i had gone usa i would be european and so on thats the way function and that the way i feel so….if european team wins what would i felt?

  35. Bernardo Sá Nogueira Mergulhão

    just nonsense…people feel more european when the current trend of national egoism goes away…by politics that restore the truth about european policy’s…back to the basics…a union that prevents wars and promotes free comerce….when the politics stop being in response to a particular cause/problem in the headlines…and starts being a union of country’s that know the reason of their existence and were they wanna go for the future … what place in the world europe want’s for himself …and the model …union of nations or federalism is a false question that can be debated…but bring back polititions that restore a sense of direction of meaning…not this stupid “WAR” of north /south or germany want’s this france want’s that…uk another thing…like this there’s no future…but reality will force us…in globalization a european country isolated is a dwarf…peace

    • Alex

      Nothing wrong about beeing a dwarf.Switzerland was always a dwarf,right in the middle of some great powers for all of its history.Yet they still have the best quality of life in europe

  36. Nikos Sarikas

    Ok we all understand the poll : Would you feel proud if europe would be a country???Thats the real question.And why should i feel happy ????Its a game…and the one who is better should win….Why should i care if the winning team is from europe????

  37. Unimatriks Ziro

    no. how else would people in Europe feel anyway!? We are Europeans. The question shoul be: If a European team wins the WC, will people feel more pro Eurpean Union? In that case, the answer is NO:

  38. Higaara Nakamura

    Not at all. Actually I am hopping the south america wins the world cup so the germanic peoplezzz can get depressed at least for a while instead of being full of themselves for holding the political, economical and simbolic dominance and hegemony in Europe.

  39. Kali Serpe

    Hey, Nakamura, why is all that hate??? What exactly “german people” did to you??
    Of course the people will feel no more or less EU if DE/NE wins…. To be an European is a state of mind!!!!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Kali Serpe
      LOL!!!!

      Your sentence:

      What exactly “german people” did to you??

      reminded me of the apparent last words of Colonel Gaddafi.

  40. Kevin

    No ,I will never feel European , I am English . .

  41. Rick Shay

    Nope, they’ll just be happier since no European team has won it when played in the Americas..

  42. Jorge De Freitas Monteiro

    Silly question. Most Portuguese supported Brasil against Germany. Lots of British would support US against any other European team. Most spaniards would do the same, supporting Latin American teams. And so on…

  43. Raül Garcia

    Europe is a failed invention that will never succeed with the current European politics.

  44. Giusy Ancori

    As far as sport is concerned, I do agree with those who think that the best team should win… to be European maybe means that eventhough we are all different from each other, I recognize you, I meet you, I welcome you, I respect you… I accept you. It means that eventhough you have a different opinion from mine, your ideas and your opinion count as much as mine. Peace & love everybody! <3 ;-)

  45. Levente Biro

    Only if this will be presented like a european gain and the winner team will want to share this with all european. :)

  46. Pablo GC

    Non sense. Viva América Latina. We don’t care about Merkeland or Merkeland’s colony.

  47. Darcy Brás da Silva

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer:
    On a first note I would say that football has far bigger adoption/history in European countries which lead people to have it more present in their lives and as a result they tend to cheer for their country. Notice that sports are often seen differently in Europe with lets say USA, so even though people cheer for their team, they tend to cheer for other communities that might surround them which ends defining their second and third choices.

    On a second note, people commenting in this website tend to be already less nationalists, I mean if that wasn’t the case, I don’t think they would care commenting about Europe as a whole in something like football.

    Third note, a huge chuck of football are european teams, if one would join them in the same bucket I don’t think it would be as fun as it is.

    PS: Yes, I am aware Europe is bigger then European Union, however I do think the question was made talking of European Union through the label of Europe.

    cheers

  48. Pavlos Papathanasiou

    100% false dillemma, sorry guys! Why shall I feel more European, when Merkel’s “europe” wants us to be her slaves? We can never cheer up for such a Europe!sorry! I prefer Argentina!!!

  49. Al

    Maybe one day.

    But then where is the balance when playing teams from smaller populations. I’ve thought for a long time, federations such as the USA should enter state teams into international events. It gives more athletes from the USA the opportunity to compete professionally. Currently their situation is the very best of the best enter their team, but many athletes that could also do very well internationally don’t even get a chance to compete. Sport is about participation at the end of the day.

    Perhaps both a federation team and a state team, perhaps different games at different times of the year to accommodate this?

  50. Gracias Jorge

    Wrong topic, absurd question. In the meantime, Israel bombards Gaza killing innocent people, where is Europe when it is needed, watching football?

    • Marcel

      Those that voted for Hamas voted for the agression Hamas does with its rocket launching ‘programme’.

      Palestinean agresion comes first, Israels response always follows after. Not Israels fault that Palestinean fighters are such cowards they hide in hospitals and have ammo dumps in mosques. Israeli soldiers protect women and children, Hamas fighters hide behind women and children.

      Since 1948 it has been nothing but Palestinean and Arab agression against Israel, and whenever they lose (which they generally always do) they go cry to their sympathetic (usually leftist) friends in European countries.

      The fact of the matter is simple, there wouldn’t be any Israeli response if it wasn’t for everlasting Palestinean/Arab provocations.

      Godwin may be upon me but I always detect a strong hint of anti-Israeli bias in those that are quiet when the agressor Hamas launches rockets and hides behind and amongst women and children, but cry foul when Israel defends itself.

  51. Nikolaos Sotirelis

    The problem today is that they have managed to politicize football on one hand, and to footballize politics on the other.

    • Sonia

      Well said!

  52. Paul X

    It would not surprise me if in the past some EU fanatic has raised a motion to scrap the European Cup competition on the grounds that it stirs up nationalistic feelings between European countries…that seems to be their desire in every other aspect of our lives

    • Alex

      Yeah we have that kind of people over here in Germany too.They have a facebook-page called schland-watch…
      basically they 24/7 controll the 5 nazis left in Germany taking pictures during the world cup and the keep telling everyone”ha there thats what we ment to say!it causes nationalism”^^

  53. Albert Charara Ruiz

    Cheering Argentina from Barcelona. And hey, take a look at whats happening in Gaza right now. Is the EU going to do something about it?

  54. Alexandra Calado Gaio

    Of course not. In a world championship predominate national identities, according to the teams playing. There was no team on the world championship called “Europe”.

    • leh

      Germany!

  55. Andre Mura

    There are no team called “Europe”, but there is an Idea, called “Europe”, and a common culture (also in sport).

  56. Nikolaos Sotirelis

    I wonder, while the national team of Brazil, is composed from almost 80% of Blacks, Indians, or Cariocas, why on the grandstands are 95% whites Brazilians?
    Why the whites, are the only ones who can afford to pay the ticket?
    What happened to the favelas, near the stadiums?
    How many people have been stayed homeless, or even murdered the last two months, so that the tourists shall not see any shanty on their way to the football matches?
    Who is gonna pay all these media show? All these gigantic constructions, in a poor country?
    But FIFA doesn’t care! They just urge us to… “say no to racism”! Brilliant!!!
    Even worse, Europeans don’t give a damn, as long as they are happy to win the cup for the first time in the american stadiums! WHO CARES?

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Nikolaos Sotirelis
      I agree with your observations regarding racism in the Brazilian football team cohort.

      I also believe that the over-representation of German and French businesses in the grand construction projects accompanying the 2014 world cup exhibited another form of subtle commercial ‘bias’ at the least and ‘racism’ at the worst.

  57. Marcel

    I believe people in European countries that are for ‘more integration’ etcetera should be told they will have to give up their national team and identity in order to make way for a ‘European’ team next time.

    The problem with those opposed to democracy (or to be precise: pro-EU) is that they want the benefits of both positions (for Europe when it suits them and for their own country when it suits them) but the drawbacks of neither.

  58. David Fuzzey

    No , not at all….I support my National team then Non European teams (except Argentina)…so i don`t care who wins and will not bother to watch it.

  59. Alex

    Here i am.just returned from celebratin…
    The UK also field 4 teams,from scotland,england,wales and northern ireland.So EU doens t mean that there would be a european national team,since the fifa is a private institution and is about football associations and not countries.

    To promote europe in football they cauld just make 1 or 2 exhibition games.One in europe and one somewhere else.europe vs the rest.(europe would actually mean spain+germany with a little bale,christiano and robben)
    since european would keep winning it for the next 100 years ,it would definetly promote a european kind of patriotism…
    a super-event that everyone watches,just like the superbowl in the us

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