Progressive Rooting Index for the 2018 World Cup

The U.S. missed the World Cup. Donald Trump is president. Coincidence? Okay, yes, probably. But who’s to say conservative values aren’t ruining soccer in America? There’s no argument flag-wearing MAGA thumpers are sucking the joy out of the other kind of football.

With that in mind, why not put your fandom where your politics are and base your rooting interest in progressive policies? Six world cup underdogs fall within the top 10 of the 2017 Social Policy Index Rankings (SPI). These enviable social policies will make you feel good about rooting for them—even when they inevitably lose.


2017 SPI Ranking: 1st
2018 World Cup Odds: 100 to 1

Denmark is the country Bernie Sanders consistently referenced during his presidential campaign. It’s essentially a socialist democracy with the highest standard of living in the world. Their team might not do so well in Russia, but I bet you won’t hear Danes complain. After all, they still live in the happiest country on Earth.


2017 SPI Ranking: 5th
2018 World Cup Odds: 100 to 1

Switzerland is a world leader in citizen rights. The country allows recreational drug use and permits assisted suicide for the elderly. Its gun ownership rates are high, but due to conscription its citizens are well-trained and respect firearms and the Swiss haven’t had a mass shooting since 2001.


2017 SPI Ranking: 8th
2018 World Cup Odds: 150 to 1

In 1988, the Swedish government set out to enact sweeping gender equality reforms. Today, Sweden’s gender gap is one of the narrowest in the world. Their parental leave policies illustrate their commitment to gender parity. Swedish citizens get 480 days off between parents for each child they have—three months of which must be taken by the father. And today, the Socialist Democrat-Green coalition is pushing for more.


2017 SPI Ranking: T-3rd
2018 World Cup Odds: 200 to 1

Iceland’s greatest soccer triumph came in 2016, when it defeated England to reach the quarterfinals of the European Championships. One of its great political triumphs came less than a year later, when it introduced an Equal Pay Standard regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality.


2017 SPI Ranking: T-9th
2018 World Cup Odds: 300 to 1

The Socceroos are among the longest of shots to win the World Cup. But the odds are even worse that you’ll find a semi-automatic weapon in Australia—the country banned them just two weeks after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. It’s not the most progressive country in the tournament, but the Aussies’ swift action on gun control puts them on the list.