"The World Cup is seriously negatively affecting my life!"
Political Influences on World Cup Results; Speculative
The appeal of the World Cup is definitely "political'" in the sense of it being all about national pride. Within Europe, I cannot help but think of the political situation since the 2008 Economic Crisis.
The European "PIIGS", who fast approach a decade of unending economic unpleasantness and pessimism, did remarkably poorly in the Group Stage:
Spain: Out. Two losses.
Italy: Out. Two losses.
Greece: Out. Two losses.
Porutgal: Probably Out. Nearly two losses (tied USA at last second).
Now, consider that Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece respectively rank #1, #4, #9, #12 in the world!
"On paper", as they say, each of these teams should be in the final 16, i.e., the second round in the World Cup. Three are out for sure and one teeters on the brink. What, then, is the statistical chance, in a 32-team tournament, that the #1, #4, #9, and #12 ranked teams are all eliminated before going onto the second round of 16 teams? The odds have to be very low, in which case we can speculate about a general explanation. Here is mine: As the contest is heavily influenced by national pride, teams from politically-pessimistic societies do more poorly than they should.
Vis-a-vis the "PIIGS", who are more politically optimistic?
With one glaring exception, Northwestern Europe has done very. Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and England are all there. England was knocked out (and somewhere a dog was biting a man; England usually does poorly at the World Cup; England couldn't even beat Costa Rica this time).
Germany: Probably advancing
Netherlands: Definitely advancing
Belgium: Definitely advancing
Switzerland: May advance with a final win
England: Out; scored only two goals in three games.
There is talk that certain of England's potential players refused to play for the national team as they'd prefer a vacation, which points to a kind of cynical political pessimism and anti-patriotism, too.
I saw a surreal vieo-game-esque goal by Dutch star Van Persie, in Netherlands' 5-1 win over Spain.
The South Korea team of 2014 performed poorly and will probably be eliminated. They have one Round One game left. I compare this to their great performance in 2002. The South Korea of 2002 was, in my opinion, much more politically optimistic than the South Korea of 2014.