Read FP’s Coverage of the 2018 World Cup
War is politics by other means — and so is the World Cup.
By FP Editors
The 2018 tournament has political significance far beyond the field and Foreign Policy is there to cover it. Read FP’s analysis and dispatches on Putin’s P.R. victories, Xi Jinping’s crash program to make China a global player, why Recep Tayyip Erdogan can’t make Turkey’s team great again, how Switzerland and Serbia brought the Kosovo war to the field, Chechen strongmen, Croatian corruption scandals, and how 2026 will tighten North American ties even if Trump tears up NAFTA — and more, here, as the tournament progresses.
Putin Doesn’t Care about Sex Trafficking: Russia could have done something to prevent sexual exploitation of foreign women during the World Cup. It chose not to. by Madeline Roche
Peru’s National Identity Was Bound Up With Conflict and Corruption for Decades — Then It Qualified for the World Cup:
On our podcast, how a country scores two goals in the soccer tournament and finds redemption. by FP Editors
Croatia’s Soccer Stars Should Be Heroes. Instead, They’re Hated: A corruption scandal involving the country’s top club and the national team’s captain has enraged Croatian fans. by Matthew Hall
Russia’s Goals Won’t End With the World Cup: An emboldened Putin is ready to seize the opportunities Trump has given him. by Daniel B. Baer
Captain Erdogan Can’t Help the Turkish Soccer Team: With so much political, social, and financial capital invested in its national squad, why can’t Turkey qualify for a World Cup? by Patrick Keddie
Xi Jinping Is the World’s Most Powerful Soccer Coach: China’s team is a national embarrassment — but the party chairman has big plans for the game. by Jonathan White
For Serbs, Switzerland Isn’t Neutral: Serbia’s nationalist soccer fans hoped to restore their national pride by beating a Swiss team led by Kosovar stars. Instead, the Kosovo-born Xherdan Shaqiri handed them a humiliating defeat. by Aleks Eror
Russia’s Muslim Strongman Is Winning the World Cup: Ramzan Kadyrov is using sports diplomacy to bolster his image. by Karim Zidan
Russia’s World Cup Isn’t as Safe as It Looks: The Kremlin has prepared for the soccer tournament by cracking down on terror threats — the wrong kind. by Neil Hauer
If Trump Tears Up NAFTA, Sports Will Keep North America Together: The joint 2026 World Cup is yet another sign that Canada, Mexico, and the United States are becoming increasingly culturally and economically interdependent. by Andrew Selee