Jun 11, 2018

World Cup round-up: Democracies dominate, Russia hosts and U.S. waits

Belgium's star-studded team ahead of a friendly today with Costa Rica. Photo: Jimmy Bolcina/Photonews via Getty Images

In at least 32 countries around the world, one topic is driving the national conversation right now: the World Cup, which begins on Thursday in Russia.

  1. The Economist has a formula for predicting the footballing success of a given country, with factors including wealth and the sport's popularity. Germany sits at the top and, interestingly, countries with autocratic governments tend to underachieve. One explanation they offer: unlike track-and-field, where relentless training can carry the day, soccer requires "creativity and flair."
  2. Per the FT's World Weekly podcast, Russia is the first autocratic host country in 40 years. Unlike at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a national triumph is unlikely on the pitch — Russia's team is weak.
  3. The 2026 host will be named soon, and a collective U.S./Canada/Mexico bid is up against Morocco. Per the FT's Simon Kuper, the North Americans have Latin America in their corner, while Africa's votes are going to Morocco. That leaves Asia and Europe as the swing votes, and "it seems like resentment toward the U.S. president is playing an outsized role."

Go deeper

Repatriated American citizens have doubled coronavirus cases in U.S.

Face mask discarded outside the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The official number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. just doubled — to 34 — but public health officials are pointing out that these are mostly people who've been repatriated.

Why it matters: As concerns grow about a global pandemic, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to make sure the message gets out: "We are not seeing community spread here in the United States," Nancy Messonnier says.

Bernie opens up massive lead among college students

Data: College Reaction; Note: ±3.4 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the last two months, Bernie Sanders has surged 20 points among college students to become the group's clear 2020 favorite, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The numbers reflect the extent to which young Democratic voters are embracing socialism and rejecting moderate choices.

Situational awareness

Photos: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  2. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  3. Trump misrepresents 2020 Russia briefing as Democratic "misinformation"
  4. Bernie Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone
  6. Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars