After four weeks, 64 games, and more than a decade of controversy, Argentina has won the Fifa men’s World Cup in Qatar. And as Lionel Messi and his teammates celebrate victory over France, another competition has also reached its conclusion: the battle for “soft power.”
Soft power is a foreign policy tool. It’s about shaping global perceptions and attitudes using things like music, fashion, and sport. The Fifa World Cup is perhaps the ultimate soft power platform, with 32 countries on show to billions of people.
During the event, three types of soft power could be observed: “brilliant” soft power, which comes from high performance levels and generates feelings of admiration; “beautiful” soft power, which inspires hope and a sense of togetherness; and “benign” soft power, which is found in positive attitudes and altruism.
Using these categories we have determined the following national placings for the 2022 “World Cup of Soft Power.”
In global soft power rankings, France was lifted by its win at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia. In 2022, the football team’s performances have only strengthened the national image and reputation. The squad is the epitome of “brilliant” soft power, combining style and elegance with acute competitiveness, and projecting an image that is cosmopolitan, diverse, and united.
One player (arguably the world’s best right now) is instrumental in this: Kylian Mbappé. His club side, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), is a big part of France’s soft power story, helping to build its credentials through a carefully managed combination of football, fashion, and music. Readmore