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25 June 2018

All the World Cup-related political headlines to expect over the duration of the tournament

Has Harry Kane saved Brexit?

By James Ball

Given that the World Cup produces TV ratings higher than virtually any other event on the planet, it’s no surprise that it proves absolutely irresistible for political pundits to try to ride the coattails of its popularity, and hook the World Cup into articles and columns during its run.

There is some evidence this is actually more than just a desperate attempt to get you all to pay attention to anything other than the matches, though: the World Cup has real world knock-on effects. Good performances in international sporting events does, for example, seem to provide a polling boost for the relevant government. There are even stronger effects in the stock market: Goldman Sachs analysts estimate the World Cup winner’s stock market outperforms by about 3.5 per cent in the months after the tournament – but the runner-up experiences a slump.

With all that in mind, here’s a round-up of all the political hot-takes you can expect before the final on the 15th (or – whisper it – whenever England go out before then).

If England beat Belgium on Thursday – just as Theresa May concludes what was supposed to be the “crunch week” of Brexit negotiations:

  • SCREW EU: England team shows Theresa May that Britain CAN get the better of Brussels
  • England’s triumphant performance has lessons for Brexit: if we hold the line we can win in Europe

And if they lose:

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  • England’s football predicts England’s future: big enough to beat the little guys – but not strong enough to take on the world
  • Of course England lost to Belgium – we’ve been getting kicked around by Brussels for decades

If England face Japan in the second round:

  • Boycott backfired? Britain misses the chance for VIP box trade talks as UK VIPs dodge Russia’s World Cup

If England reach the Quarter Finals:

  • SNAP ELECTION? World Cup heroes could secure Theresa May a 60-seat majority, new poll reveals
  • Has Harry Kane saved Brexit? Why England’s summer of joy means May can get the deal she needs
  • How the England team could get us a soft Brexit: May can now face down her Brexiteer backbenchers
  • NO-WIN CORBYN: fans appalled as Labour leader sends only ONE tweet supporting the team

If it’s Germany England faces in the Quarter Finals (or later):

  • MAY VS MERKEL: how tonight’s match could make or break one of Europe’s two most embattled PMs

If England crash out in the second round or quarter finals:

  • How England’s World Cup was the story of Brexit – high hopes, big promises, then reality crashed back in
  • MAYDAY: PM in trouble as hoped-for World Cup bounce becomes a splat
  • How THAT missed goal could make Jeremy Corbyn the PM for the next World Cup
  • Is every FIFA referee corrupt?
  • SABOTAGE? Did Putin’s goons try to poison our brave boys?

If England reach the semi-finals:

  • WHO’S HE SUPPORTING? Outrage as Corbyn refuses permanent facial tattoo of the flag
  • U-turn? Senior cabinet source says he WILL fly to the final when England make it through
  • ARISE, SIR GARETH: Number 10 source says knighthood for Southgate will be fast-tracked – but only if we win

If England loses the semi-finals:

  • SACK SOUTHGATE: Why he should go – despite our boys’ best performance in decades
  • CABINET MINISTER: Britain was right to boycott Russia’ corrupt spectacle

If England reaches the final:

  • BORIS JOHNSON: Why I’m backing our boys and flying out to Russia for the final
  • Flying to Russia to back our brave boys was actually Gavin Williamson’s idea and he had it first and would’ve taken a much cooler military plane, says senior cabinet source
  • STAND BY YOUR FAN: Theresa May has “no plans” to fire Boris as he openly defies her ministerial boycott
  • CORB-OUT: Investigation reveals ZERO England flags on Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment

If England actually win the world cup:

  • Scientists confirm this universe is a simulation, suspect it’s running on a 14-year-old’s Playstation
  • Wake up, wake up, it’s time to go to school

If a writer gets too snarky early in the tournament:

  • All the World Cup-related political headlines to expect over the duration of the tournament