Tuesday 16 October 2018

Who would win the World Cup if results were based on national flags alone?

Fortunately, the Flag Institute has got it all under control.

Argentina and Germany were in the 2014 World Cup final (Mike Egerton/PA)
Argentina and Germany were in the 2014 World Cup final (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Max McLean, Press Association

The World Cup is about so much more than football, but what if the tournament’s results were dictated by something other than what happens on the pitch?

Well everyone’s about to find out thanks to the Flag Institute, the UK’s national flag charity. A research and documentation centre for flags, founded in 1971, the Flag Institute is running a World Cup of Flags to see which of the 32 teams at the 2018 World Cup in Russia come out on top.

“The thinking behind the competition was about joining a relevant conversation on a platform where I know a lot of World Cup action and chat would be taking place – Twitter,” Bernard Muscat from the Flag Institute told the Press Association.

“Using polls, users can vote for their favourite flags, irrespective of whether they care about the actual football competition or not. Anyone can get involved – it’s very accessible.”

The competition, which uses Twitter polls to decide who progresses, runs until June 12, where an overall winner will be decided.

A number of teams have already been dumped out of the tournament that might expect to do a little better when the real thing rolls around.

Brazil, France, Germany and Spain have already been knocked out, while Panama ran away with Group G, achieving 73% of the vote as England qualified as runners-up with 21%.

“I wouldn’t say flags are an underrated part of the World Cup, but flags are what the Flag Institute is passionate about,” said Bernard. “So if there’s an opportunity to join a relevant conversation and make it possible for people to enjoy flags, then why not?

“It also allows more people to learn about the FI’s work in a light-hearted, accessible way.”

The tournament has attracted hundreds of votes in the case of some groups, and Bernard expects those numbers to rise further still, but does he see any potential champions emerging as the knockout stage gets under way?

“Panama stormed through the group stage with 73% of the public vote out of 647 votes for Group G,” said Bernard. “South Korea also has many backers, and we’ve had predictions of a Panama vs South Korea final.

“Costa Rica was able to generate the highest amount of votes in the shortest time, in Group E,” he continued. “They came from behind to grab second place ahead of Brazil.”

Whoever wins will have to negotiate the #WorldCupOfFlags quarter-finals, which continue this weekend. To get involved, visit the Flag Institute on Twitter, and to read more about the charity’s work, click here.

Press Association

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