After watching the Euros last year and this year, my (ignorant) American impression is that it would be a tie between England, Brazil and Mexico. Germany, Argentina, Italy and Spain might come in close second?
Unsure how you’d be able to define the criteria.
Noise level, number of flares thrown, spectators mugged for wearing the wrong colours etc
FWIW I think your list is a bit light on South American nations eg Uruguay, Colombia, Paraguay etc.
Plenty of the footballing minnows at international level have equivalent level of passion for their domestic leagues eg Indonesia.
Some years ago the authors of Soccernomics deemed Norway the number one footballing nation in the world.
IIRC, their criteria was three pronged, based on per capita participation, numbers of spectators live and on tv and national success on the field. I’m generally not a big fan of ranking subjective things but they made a pretty good case for Norway.
Not Spain, and sure not England, whatever they believe. Neither Germany, they take football much too seriously and are only interested in winning (which they did much too often, granted.)
Argentina and Brazil, yeah, and Italy too. But the only nation where people always tell me that they are truly remarcable considering how small they are, and how often they reach the quarter-semi-whatever-finals in all the Cups in the World and even have been World Champions twice (albeit almost one hundred years ago, but still!) or even four times when you count the Olympics and and and… (and they can go on for hours and hours, women, men, children, I have seen and heard them!) is Uruguay.
And know what? I think they are right to be proud. Consider what a minuscule country they are and how often they have reached…
You could put together a fun little tournament consisting only of nations with populations below 10 million.
In addition to the aforementioned Uruguay (great call!) and Norway, you could invite defending World Cup runners-ups Croatia, Serbia, Scotland, Austria, Denmark and Costa Rica. I’d watch that in June.
Crap, forgot Switzerland.
I’m going to say not England, because they have other major sports that they also love – cricket and rugby spring immediately to mind.
What are the other major sports in Germany? I don’t really know.
I agree - but I certainly think that you’re talking about supporters and players, not the achievements of the national team.
Therefore I put England forward because:
The modern game of association football originated with mid-nineteenth century efforts between local football clubs to standardize the varying sets of rules, culminating in formation of The Football Association in London, England in 1863.
The Premier League reached a cumulative global audience of over 3.2 billion people during the 2019/20 season, an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. The world’s most-watched sports league is only getting bigger after signing major rights deals with companies like Amazon.
The English football league system , also known as the football pyramid , is a series of interconnected leagues for men’s association football clubs in England, with five teams from Wales, one from Guernsey, one from Jersey and one from the Isle of Man also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the theoretical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system. There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions
Certainly rugby and cricket are popular - but the number of clubs and total supporters of those two sports are dwarfed by football.
And Iceland. (Of course, they could qualify in the “under 1 million” bracket).
Never mind, hijack.
I’m going out on a limb here and cite what I think is the most football-obsessed nation in the world:
The soccer-loving part of the United States of America.
The United States is not a soccer nation; but the United States contains a soccer nation. Everyone would consider Uruguay or The Netherlands to be footballing nations; there are a number of people in the United States equal to both their populations put together for whom soccer is just as important as for them. They follow the domestic league (and foreign leagues! - lotta good soccer is played in Liga MX!) just as much; they live and die with the national team’s fortunes; they march to their local team’s matches and unveil tifos just like fans where soccer is the national sport; they gather in pubs and plazas and stadiums and arenas to watch their team play, cheer, moan, shout and drink just like fans in other soccer nations.
And they (we!) do this in an environment where the prevailing sports fan culture either completely ignores or actively disdains anyone who is a soccer fan. Taking abuse for liking soccer used to be a universal constant as a fan in the U.S. Persecution creates fanaticism; the folks who come through this and stay committed deserve to be considered a soccer nation of the first rank.
And let’s not forget that the United States has earned four World Cup trophies - all on the women’s side, but they count just as much! What’s more, the U.S.-Mexico soccer rivalry stands out in its singular intensity - other countries have intense rivalries, but the difference between the most intense rivalry and the second-most is greater for the U.S. and Mexico than any other pair of nations in the soccer world (except perhaps Brazil-Argentina, though both have to account for Uruguay as well - perhaps Canada will get there for US-MX at some point.). And let’s not forget the Mexican-American community (and the larger Latino-American community) which is an entire subculture (maybe even a majority) of the US soccer subculture in its own right.
tl; dr - we don’t dominate the national culture, but US fans are just as obsessed as those of other nations.
That would be fascinating to watch. Not sure what it would be named though.
Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
At the moment I would say we (Argentina) are on top, the day you give funerals to your futbol idols in your equivalent of the white house you can be in the running.
My first 2 answers would be Brazil and Croatia. In addition to the domestic league and international fandom, Brazil still produces the most top flight players year-in and year-out, and every major league in the world seems to have Brazilians playing. The Eternal Derby of Croatia, well if you don’t know, search for some videos.
England, Argentina, Mexico and Spain also come to mind.
South African fans are pretty obsessed, wearing their makarapas and blowing their vuvuzelas.
I won’t disparage the choice of England - this is all pretty subjective anyway - but having pro/rel is hardly a distinguishing factor (though England’s pyramid is pretty amazing). I think every country in the world except for the US has a pro/rel system. Which is awesome, btw.
Fraction of news coverage devoted to soccer-related news?
Attendance at soccer matches, relative to the overall population?
VIewership of televised matches relative to overall TV viewing?
Money spent on soccer-related merchandise?
Right, so you have four (valid) metrics, which one (or combination) are you proposing that defines football obsession? Or are you just throwing stuff against the wall (like I was) to see what sticks?
Besides some of the South American sides already mentioned (Uruguay in particular), I’d add Turkey as a candidate.