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Gary Younge
Mexico v Angola

The impact of international football on nationalism is clear; it inflames it. Its impact on domestic politics is less so. Victory should favour the incumbents. But in Mexico, where the incumbent is resigning and leftwing presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads in the polls, it is difficult to predict whom a Mexican victory would benefit. As members of the UN security council both Mexico and Angola stood firm against US pressure to endorse the war. Safest, then, to back the Angolans, emerging from years of civil war with a life expectancy of 41 - just a year older than the tournament's oldest player.

Verdict: Angola, by a nose!

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