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Argentina fan celebrates after the World Cup match against Mexico.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

World Cup heats up Argentina’s presidential race

When Argentina faces Poland in their do-or-die last group stage match on Wednesday, one thing will be missing at the stadium in Qatar: Argentine politicians.

In the soccer-crazy South American nation, políticos rarely watch the Albiceleste, in person to avoid getting blamed for a loss. Former President Mauricio Macri didn’t get the memo, as he attended — in his new FIFA gig — Argentina’s shocking loss to Saudi Arabia last week. Almost on cue, fans responded by launching an online petition for Macri and his bad juju to stay as far away as possible from GOAT Leo Messi and his crew.

But the brouhaha over Macri is part of a bigger story: The former president has hinted he might want to get his old job back in next year’s election.

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Iran fans hold Freedom For Iran and Women Life Freedom placards before the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B match against England in Doha, Qatar.

Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd via Reuters Connect

Great Satan on the pitch, big troubles at home — Iran's World Cup dilemma

The US and Iran go to war Tuesday ... on a soccer pitch. The two sides meet in their last first-round game of the Qatar World Cup, and whoever wins will almost certainly advance to the knockout stage — a first for Iran.

But this time the long-running geopolitical tensions between the two bitter enemies have taken a back seat to the ongoing women-led protests against the theocratic regime in Iran, the biggest the country has seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: The Mother of All Games 2.0

The US plays, of all countries, Iran (!) at the Qatar men's soccer World Cup on Tuesday in the most politically charged game of the most political edition of the tournament in decades. What’s more, if Team Melli — as Iran's team is popularly known — wins, it’ll advance to the knockout stage for the first time. (Not to mention that Iran won't miss a chance to beat Great Satan at anything.) USMNT, for its part, wants revenge from France '98, when Iran won 2-1 in a major upset that Tehran billed at the time as the "Mother of all Games." We take a look at how the two geopolitical rivals compare on some soccer and non-soccer metrics.

Annie Gugliotta

World Cup politics go way beyond Qatar

The 2022 World Cup now underway in Qatar is the most political edition of the tournament in decades. But it's also playing out politically far away from the host country in parts of the globe where fans often pay more attention to the sport than to their elected officials.

For instance, in Brazil, supporters of left-wing President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva want to reclaim the yellow jersey from the fans of outgoing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazilian progressives say Bolsonaro’s supporters co-opted the color of their five-time winning national side during the recent presidential election campaign.

Let’s find more examples from a few Eurasia Group soccer nuts, ahem, experts.

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