Global Attitudes Towards the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia

Worldwide, more than two in ten respondents, who are aware of the FIFA World Cup 2018, believe that Germany will take home the Cup. Brazil, Spain and Argentina are also among the favourites. Overall, people have predominantly positive opinions about the games being held in Russia.

The author(s)
  • Robert Grimm Public Affairs, Germany
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The latest Ipsos Global Advisor survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world and explores the attitudes towards the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. The poll was carried out in the period between 20th April and 4th May 2018 among adults aged under 65 via the Ipsos Online Panel.

Germany is considered to be the favourite to win the FIFA World Cup in 2018

Nearly one fourth (23%) of the respondents think that the German football team will win the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Germany is therefore the favourite of the sporting event, followed by the national teams of Brazil (21%), Spain (11%), Argentina (8%), France (4%), Portugal (3%), England (3%) and Russia (2%). Germany is also ahead when it comes to the question of which country is most likely to finish the tournament as the runner-up. Worldwide, almost two in ten people (18%) believe that Germany will become second, whereas at least fifteen percent consider that Brazil will be the runner-up.

High approval rates for the host country Russia

A strong majority of people around the world have positive opinions about the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Nearly three in four respondents (73%) believe that Russia will be a successful venue for the World Cup. Nearly every Serb (95 %) agrees with that, which makes them the most optimistic population in regard to this matter, followed by the Chinese (90%) and the Indians (86%). Only in Poland (45%) and Great Britain (41%), a majority of the people think that Russia won't be a successful venue for the event. Furthermore, three in four respondents (75%) believe that the games will be beneficial to the citizens of Russia. People from Peru (93%), Serbia (90%) and China (88%) are most likely to agree, whereas Russians are much more skeptical (66%).  Respondents from Great Britain (56%), Germany (53%) and Belgium (50%) are least likely to agree.

Moreover, nearly seven in ten (67%) believe that it is safe for fans from their country to travel to Russia to attend the World Cup, although there is a large discrepancy in the evaluation of safety between different countries. More than nine in ten people (91%) in Serbia agree that it is safe for Serbian football fans to attend the World Cup, whereas only three in ten Britains (31%) agree that it is safe for their people to travel to Russia. More than half of the respondents worldwide (56%) also think better about Russia as a country for hosting the World Cup. People from India (86%), China (84%) and Peru (83%) are most likely to agree with that statement while those from Germany (24%), Belgium (22%) and Great Britain (22%) are least likely to agree.  

Nevertheless, three out of ten (28%) respondents think that their national team should boycott the World Cup in Russia. Most likely to support this are people from India (49%), Saudi Arabia (45%) and the US (45%). Least likely supporters are found in Japan (17%), Chile (16%) and Serbia (5%).

Trust in FIFA varies heavily from country to country

Overall, FIFA is perceived positively. Globally, six in ten people (60%) trust FIFA to always do the best in the interest of football and its spectators. The approval and favorability ratings by the Chinese (87%), Indians (86%) and Malaysians (84%) are the highest, whereas the people from Argentina (46%), Chile (41%) and Great Britain (32%) are least likely to trust the FIFA. However, less than half of those interviewed (46%) think that the preparations towards the World Cup have been free from corruption. Most likely to believe in a corruption-free organizing process are the people from India (78%), China (71%) and Saudi Arabia (69%), while the respondents from Japan (29%), Belgium (28%) and Great Britain (20%) are least likely to believe this. Furthermore, a vast majority (75%) consider that the World Cup nowadays is more concerned with corporate sponsorship than individual sportsmanship. In Serbia even nine in ten people (90%) agree, whereas in Sweden (64%), China (60%) and Japan (56%) still about six in ten respondents agree.

Russian hosts show little interest in football

Russians show the least interest in football: less than one out of ten Russians (9%) consider themselves to be passionate football followers. Moreover one third of the Russian population (35 %) state that they watch games only occasionally while 36 % suggest that they do not follow football at all. Saudi Arabians and Peruvians are most likely to be passionate football followers. Four in ten people in these countries consider themselves as passionate football followers and watch as many games possible at any given time (41% and 38 % respectively).

Real Passion means: missing work, buying fan merchandise, carrying luck-charms

For many people, their passion for the game goes so far that they even expect to miss work
or school to watch this coming World Cup. Globally, nearly one in four (24%) will most probably or definitely miss work or school during the tournament. This rate is highest in India (51%), Turkey (46%) and the US (46%); in contrast, only around ten percent of the population in Belgium (11%), Spain (10%) and Serbia (6%) plan to do so.

Additionally, more than one third of the respondents (38%) expect to buy World Cup themed products. Chinese (68%), Indian (64%) and Malaysian people (64%) are most likely to spend money for fan and merchandise items, whereas the respondents from Italy (19%), Japan (17%) and Serbia (13%) are least likely to buy these products.

Moreover, one in four (25%) say they will have a good luck charm that they will keep with them during the World Cup games. While more than six in ten Indians (63%) and more than five in ten US-Americans (54%) admit this habit, only few European respondents set on the power of good luck charms.

Football as a social experience

A vast majority of viewers will watch the 2018 World Cup in good company. Worldwide, more than eight in ten people (84 %) who intend to follow the tournament will probably or definitely watch the games with relatives and/or friends. In Latin American countries like Peru (93%), Argentina (90%) and Mexico (89%), this is true for nine out of ten respondents. Furthermore, every second viewer (49%) expects to follow the World Cup with work colleagues. This rate is especially high in China (81%), followed by Saudi Arabia (73%) and Malaysia (70%). Belgian (26%), Japanese (25%) and Serbian people (23%) are less enthusiastic about this idea. Moreover, almost half of all respondents (48%) who are aware of the FIFA World Cup expect to see part of the event in a bar or restaurant. Particularly in China (64%), the US (63%), India (62%), Saudi Arabia (62%) and Mexico (61%) people go for this option.  In contrast, less than two in ten Japanese viewers (18%) favor seeing the games in a bar or restaurant.

Television sets are the most popular media devices to watch the Football World Cup

Despite the ongoing digitalization of everyday live, television sets remain the most popular media devices to watch the World Cup in 2018. Globally, more than six in ten viewers (62%) will use a television set to follow the tournament, while one quarter of the respondents (25%) who plan to watch the event will use the Internet to do so. Mobile devices (13%), tablet devices (8%) and the radio (6%) are less popular. Television sets and the radio appear to be particularly popular in Latin American countries like Peru (85% and 15% respectively), whereas the Chinese and Indians are, from all respondents, most likely to use the Internet (47% and 45%), mobile devices (24% and 32%) and tablet devices (22% and 15%).

In total 19,766 interviews were conducted between 20 April and 04 May, 2018. The survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world, via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA.
The author(s)
  • Robert Grimm Public Affairs, Germany

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