Worldwide Effects of Soccer and the World Cup

The World Cup has a statistical effect on birth rates, the male/female sex ratio of neonates, and heart attacks in nations whose national teams are competing. Hosting the World Cup or witnessing a home team win often increases male births and total birth rate, and heart attacks are more common when home teams are playing on the field.

The Côte d'Ivoire national team helped protect a truce in the nation's civil war in 2006, and it helped reduce tensions even more between the government and rebel forces in 2007 by playing a match in the rebel capital of Bouaké, an occurrence that brought both sides together peacefully for the first time. In contrast, football is widely considered to have been the immediate cause for the Football War in June 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras.

Outside of these rare occurrences in which soccer has caused or prevented skirmishes between two nations, in many countries, football has played a major role in the national culture. Many countries have daily football newspapers, as well as football magazines. Football players are often role models for people, especially the younger generations.