A World Cup of Something Else


Teams competing in the World Cup, 2014

The World Cup is in full swing (is already in progress), and millions of people around the world are watching their favorite teams compete (play against each other). Even here in the U.S., there are millions who watch soccer (or “football“). You can’t go to a bar here in Los Angeles – a city of immigrants, after all – without seeing a group of people gathered around (next to) a large-screen TV watching a game (and yelling or screaming).

To win the World Cup, you need talent and probably a little luck. But what if the World Cup were not decided by two teams kicking a ball on a field, but rather some other measure or factor?

For example, if we took the 32 countries that are competing in this year’s World Cup and decided to give the victory to the country with the biggest population instead of the best team, the winner would be the United States (with 318.9 million people).

Here, then, are the “winners” of what we could call Alternative World Cups, according to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal:

  • Highest population density (most number of people per square kilometer): Korea, at 468.8 people per square km.
  • Lowest population density: Australia, with 2.9 people per square km.
  • Fastest-growing population: Nigeria, with 2.8% yearly increase.
  • Slowest-growing population: Italy, with -2% yearly change.
  • Most traffic deaths: Iran, with 34.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Fewest traffic deaths: England, with 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Most murders: Honduras, with 90.4 murders per 100,000 people.
  • Fewest murders: Japan, with 0.3 murders per 100,000 people.
  • Longest life expectancy (how long you will probably live): Japan, at 84.5 years.
  • Most unmarried women ages 45 to 49: Brazil, with 44.6%.
  • Fewest unmarried women ages 45 to 49: Iran, with 12.6%.
  • Most tourists per person: Croatia, with 2.45 visitors per person.
  • Cellphones per capita (for each person): Russia, with 1.84 phones per person.
  • Biggest smokers: Greece, with 2,795 cigarettes smoked per person per year (that’s 7.6 cigarettes per day).
  • Biggest drinkers: Russia, with 15.1 liters per person per year.
  • Biggest meat eaters: Argentina, with 570 calories per day of meat per person.
  • Biggest vegetable eaters: Korea, with 179 calories per day per person.
  • Biggest sugar eaters: United States, with 569 calories per person per day (as much as an Argentinian eats in meat!).

Not surprisingly…

  • Fattest: United States, with approximately 33% of the population classified as (considered) obese (seriously overweight).

What else could we use to determine the World Cup winner?


Image credit: Wikipedia

This entry was posted in News and Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to A World Cup of Something Else

  1. emiliano says:

    Fewest stupid people: Mars

    thank you Jeff.

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Jeff

    I am proud to be a contributor for the slowest-growing population in Italy. In fact, I have no passed on my genes.

    As a vegetarian, I love vegetables. Unfortunately I am not fond of traveling/moving otherwise I would like to go and taste a few Korean dishes rich in vegetables.
    I sometimes look at their broadcaster Arirang. They are into boy/girls bands. I do not like that very much, in fact, I prefer the Japanese NHK.
    They show beautiful documentaries. They are good at producing those.

    As a single man, I probably need to go and visit Brasil. Who knows, with all those unmarried women if i can find the right one!?
    At the same time, as a lonely guy and nature lover/observer , Australia is a huge magnet for me.

    I need to decide between Kangaroos or Brazilian women….MMMM let me think….

    Thank you Jeff. I’ll patiently wait to see what my fellow learners write down, and after that, if I get inspired, I am going to write something else.


    Wow! according to the article Americans are “Fat Nectarivores eating sugar population”

  3. Hilario says:

    Funny mistype.- The letter “s”, probably de first letter of the word “sugar”, has properly sneaked into the word “obese”, and resulting in turn to “obsese”. Maybe the error tries to indicate or suggest that American women are they much more blamed for the high sugar rate, rather than men? Even the very few mistakes made by eslpod transcribers´s team are interesting as well, or maybe they are not at all mistyping but subliminal notes introduced by Jeff? Are really obsese (with sugar) the American women and with seriously overweight? I think Jeff owes a little explanation to them right now!
    By the way, Korean people in order to support so high vegetable consumption rate they must make growing vegetables at the top of their buildings, something related to innovative agricultural techniques called “roof orchards” cultivars, if you take into account the housing, the common land rate by person used for roads and other utilities so forth, and even is supposed that they have a fair deal of play fields for soccer teams, otherwise they must be buying imports in huge amounts of vegetables from Australia or elsewhere or playing soccer at top of their buildings. Sometimes figures are buzzing and puzzling at the same time.

  4. Messiah says:

    Very nice and interesting information..
    Thanks a lot

  5. Tania says:

    Hi! Capacity…capacitor, condenser. Oh! One of my test papers during my high school.
    Memories…A capacitor has the ability or “capacity” to store energy.
    C = Q/ V, the ratio of the charge Q to the voltage V will give the capacitance value of the capacitor.
    We have and a so called capacity examination.

    We use the same word “capacitate” with the same meanings.

  6. Tania says:

    Hi! We use the same word “mascota” , but with such a different pronunciation.
    I can’t recognise it, just in writing.

  7. Tania says:

    Hi! Red Skin Washington football team…
    I remember of skinhead bands.

  8. Tania says:

    Hi! I mixed up “bigot” with “bigamist”.
    We use the same words. So, I have many lacks in my own language.
    Thank you for that you make me to remember many words from my own language.

  9. Tania says:

    Hi! By the way of “Shorty”…
    When I started to work at my job, I used to wear a red cap.
    So, my nickname was …guess!
    “Little Red Riding Hood”.
    I was not “Little Red Riding Hood” from the story by Grimm Brothers, but still I was “Little Red Riding Hood”.
    I was very young.

  10. Tania says:

    Hi! Thank you for the explanation of the words “fruits” and “fruit”.
    I have thought that “fruit” is an English word and “fruits” is an American English word.

  11. Dan says:

    Hey Emiliano,

    Fortunately my comment appeared after yours. Otherwise, it could have looked like I was the stupid you were referring to. 🙂

    You are not thinking to Dan when you are writing that, right? 🙂


  12. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Instead of writing these informations, take a plane and come to watch the matches among the teams that are competing here in Brazil for the World Cup 2014. So much fun, screaming and yelling. Colors everywhere. Beer as well.
    I’m here waiting you all. I live in a small town, polite people, good food, milk a lot, homemade cheese, dancing every Friday night and so on.

  13. Lassana says:

    Hi Ereryone,

    Thank you Jeff about this interesting topic.

    I’m very surprised about certain records such as most murders in Honduras, I thought that was in mexico

    We can see that Japon is country that many others must follow in term of rate of murder and especially about longest life expectancy !

    But concerning the record of biggest drinkers, it’s not surprising 🙂

    See you soon


  14. Tania says:

    Hi! We have tried the innovative agricultural technique called “roof orchards”, too.
    Applied on the roof of the blocks in my capital.
    Interesting. But it was just an attempt.

  15. Tania says:

    Hi! Something very interesting to me regarding the statue “Cristo Redentor” or “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio de Janeiro,
    classified in 2007 as one of the seven new wonders of the world.

    Gheorghe Leonida was a Romanian sculptor.
    Becoming famous in France as portraitist, he was included in the team that started working at the
    gigantic statue from Rio de Janeiro in 1922.
    Gheorghe Leonida contributed to portraying Jesus Christ’s face, which made him famous worldwide.

    So, dear Aecio, I have to come in Brasil to see the famous statue.

  16. emiliano says:

    No Dan, of course, it was for the majority of earth´s population, including me.

    May be you are from Mars, Dan, having in mind your way of living so healthy and out from
    this crazy world.

    Some how I envy you.


  17. Tania says:

    Hi! I like this topic about the American Presidents.
    I now know the first American Presidents:
    – George Washington;
    – John Adams;
    – Thomas Jefferson;
    – James Madison;
    – James Monroe;
    – John Quincy Adams.
    You told us about the Monroe Doctrine in English Cafe 415/ 2013.
    And I understood the special relationship between the U.S. and Great Britain.
    Explaining us in detail the Monroe Doctrine I could understand the policy of the U.S. Government.

    Thank you.

  18. Tania says:

    Hi! About the James Monroe ‘s love for France… I understand his feelings for France.
    According to the Wikipedia, the American Enlightenment (1714 – 1818) was influenced by the 18th-century
    European Enlightenment, and its own native American Philosophy, also including political thinkers
    John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison.

  19. Tania says:

    Hi! Regarding The Shawshank Redemption, a 1994 American drama film, based on
    a story by Stephen King… Emiliano’s favourite writer . You told us about King in English Cafe 268/ 2010.
    I think I saw the movie many years ago. But I have had no idea that it was known as one of cinema’s
    best movies of all time.
    We translated the title as “The Prison of the Angels”.

  20. Tania says:

    Hi! According to the Wikipedia, the movie is an allegory for maintaining one’s feeling
    of self-worth when placed in a hopeless position.
    Andy’s integrity is an important theme in the story line, especially in prison, where integrity is lacking.
    The film provides a great illustration of how characters can be free, even in prison,
    or unfree, even in freedom.

  21. Tania says:

    Hi! May I share with you some movie quotes?
    I will start with the Jeff’s favourite quote.

    “I guess it comes down to a simple choice , really.
    get busy living, or get busy dying.”


    “”Every man has his breaking point.”

    “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”


    “Let me tell you something my friend.
    Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”


    “I have to remind myself that some bird’s aren’t meant to be caged.
    Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin
    to lock them up does rejoice. But still the place you live in is that much more grey.”

  22. Marcos says:

    Hi Jeff and everyone. First my congratulations for you job. This is my first post. I’m Ameircan … sorry Americanense, let me explain, I live in the city of Americana, americans from the United States after the Civil War settled the region that became known as American village today as city of Americana. Every year in the American cemetery where are buried these early American immigrants is commemorated their arrival to this region.
    So … that’s it. I see you guys later and Jeff thank you for all.

  23. Dan says:

    Hey Tania,

    What about this one from Iron Miden’s Hallowed Be thy Name:

    Mark my words please believe my soul lives on
    Please dont worry now that I have gone
    Ive gone beyond to see the truth

    When you know that your time is close at hand
    Maybe then youll begin to understand
    Life down there is just a strange illusion.

    Enjoy it on You Tube

  24. mohamed says:

    Hi Jeff I am Mohamed Eltahir. I am from Sudan, but i live in unite state. I really appreciate your efforts for helping us to improve our English. actually i have been study English more than tow years i am in progress in writing and reading so far, but i still get confusing while i am talking it’s disappointed feeling I am looking forward to get your advice.

  25. A+M says:

    Dear Dr. Jeff

    Two strange information about Iran, the first one is so painful and the second one is more gratifying. Our government is seriously trying to decrease the firs one and also we have a national plane to improve the second one!

    Thanks for “being up-to-date” and your non-stop enormous efforts to help up to improve our English language.

  26. Nermin Eminova says:

    Thank you so much :). I really enjoy reading ESLPod blog (of course also listening to podcasts).

Comments are closed.