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“You can be an agnostic or an atheist when it comes to religion but it’s much more difficult when we’re talking about the World Cup,” notes CCN editor Dave Schechter in The Religion of Football . He goes on to make the usual comparisons and ends with the platitude “Just as religion often divides or unites people, football can do the same.”

Well, yeah, though this can apply to books like The da Vinci Code or microbrewed beer if you’re among people who care about it. For a more interesting take on the sport, at least its influence in America, read Stephen Webb’s How Soccer is Ruining America .

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