Last night I found myself in the strange position of cheering my heart out for a Dutch team playing in South Africa – given the history of the dreadful Dutch role in apartheid that was something I would have never envisaged happening. But my cheers were really for Ghana, as Holland avenged Uruguay for knocking the wonderful Ghanaians out of the world cup with a deliberate hand ball (yes, I know I should have let go of that by now – I’m working on it).
So tonight, how the six teams (oops, seven if you include Holland) I was following are not playing – who should I cheer for? Spain or Germany.
Well, win-wise they are fairly equal – both teams having lost just one (albeit quite surprising) match each. In terms of social justice indicators they are fairly even too. Both countries give a similar amount in aid (ie for health European economies – not enough). Germany has less carbon emissions than Spain but then Spain’s inequality difference is slightly less than Germany. Hmm.
The only thing is that when Germany won their matches, they really won! Except of course when Ghana managed to limit them to only one goal – sorry, had to get that in. Otherwise it was a clear 4:1 or 4:0 hammering. I would like to say that Spain’s fabulous 50% representation of women in government was a similarly thumping victory which would have helped in my choice dilemma, but actually, Germany aren’t far behind on 46.2% and they have a female Chancellor.
So I’m still undecided. But in a world cup that saw some teams have progress because of unfair decisions and plain cheating I think I’m going to go by something my son told me. He said Spain have been the cleanest team of the world cup with only 3 yellow cards even at this stage. Having been upset at Ghana’s unjust exit (and other more major injustices around the world ranging from bankers’ greed pushing people further into poverty or the ravaging impacts of climate change suffered by people that didn’t even cause it) I think my cheering criteria should be judged by fairness and so I will celebrate with Spain’s in their clean and justified arrival at the semis.
Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the World Development Movement.