As often as the idealists may protest, European soccer is not a reflection of society, but a relief from it. In that sense, the World Cup has given us a glorious Tuesday semifinal: France versus Belgium.
In the streets of real life, Europe is ripe with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and homophobia. The notion of “enlightened times” is simply laughable, and teams throughout the continent deal with abusive language, evil gestures and physical violence from fans lamentably stuck in some past century.
But in the land where soccer is king, sport speaks its own language. Players from radically different backgrounds come together to play the beautiful game.