The World Cup kicks off today in South Africa at 10am Eastern Time. The whole world will be watching and there is no shortage of good online guides. One I particularly like is at The Guardian site. And, here's the schedule as posted at the official FIFA web site.
But, if you're wondering how the 32 nations with teams in the tournament compare off the field, there is really only one place to turn. Thad Williamson has pulled together data on the participating countries' level of political freedoms (well, at least as judged by Freedom House), their level of "Human Development" (as measured by the United Nation's Human Development Index), per capita GDP, economic inequality, and life expectancy.
Williamson concludes: "While ... real world inequalities of income and development impact the likelihood of nations qualifying for the tournament, the World Cup is far more egalitarian and inclusive than other prominent international arenas in which real power is wielded."
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