Two World Wars devastated and divided Europe in the 20thCentury, yet the actors, aggressors and victims all play international matches against each other. The former Yugoslav states such as Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro have, despite post-Cold War conflicts, faced each other on the pitch.
In 1969 Honduras and El Salvador even fought a brief war known as the Football War triggered by rioting following North American qualifying for the 1970 World Cup, but still manage to organize a spot of 11 v 11.
Football is still tainted by hooliganism, nationalism and racism, to varying degrees across Europe, but it has proven to itself to be able to transcend conflicts and bring people together. Next year’s World Cup will bring together 32 nations and be one of the most watched events ever.
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