Ranking All 32 Nations' Fanbases at 2014 World Cup

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2014

Ranking All 32 Nations' Fanbases at 2014 World Cup

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    Fans from all over the globe are starting to descend on Brazil for the football party that is the 2014 World Cup.

    Supporters go to extraordinary lengths to support their team, and many fans will travel thousands of miles to get to the tournament.

    When it comes to ranking the fanbases at the World Cup, there are several factors to take in to consideration: passion, dedication, party spirit, behaviour, entertainment value and, of course, overall presence in numbers at the matches themselves.

32. Croatia

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    Croatia's fans are among the most controversial at the World Cup. A nationalistic element has crept in to their fanbase, which has damaged their reputation.

    Michel Platini once said of their support (h/t Slate.com):

    I'm not happy with Croatia. They are a good team but it's unacceptable when you've got 100 or so assholes among the crowd.

    Croatian fans will hope all elements of their support are on their best behaviour in Brazil.

31. Iran

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    The passion of the Iran fans can't be disputed, but a cultural and geographical divide means that not many are likely to travel to Brazil.

    The Azadi Stadium in Tehran regularly sells out its 91,000 capacity, but those numbers will not be replicated in South America.

30. Algeria

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    Algeria have been largely written off at the World Cup, but they have the talent to cause an upset or two.

    Whatever happens, not many fans are expected to be there to see it. The distance to Brazil may prove prohibitive for the enthusiastic Algerian supporters.

29. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    This team's fans will do what they can to support their nation at their first World Cup.

    They're not expected to be there in great numbers, but they're certain to be vocal.

28. Ivory Coast

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    This is Ivory Coast's third consecutive World Cup, so supporters of the Elephants will have become accustomed to making long trips to follow their team.

    African supporters have a long way to travel this summer, but those who do will be among the most entertaining at the tournament. African teams always put on a show both on and off the pitch.

27. Italy

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    Italian fans are among the more cynical in football. Many of their supporters are expected to remain at home for the group stage and only travel to Brazil if the team reaches the knockout stages.

    By way of example, The Telegraph states that the Italians have sold only 200 tickets for their opening game against England in Manaus.

26. Cameroon

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    Cameroon fans will undoubtedly make their presence felt this summer.

    Known for their colourful outfits and jubilant dancing, they will light up the tournament for as long as their team remain in the competition.

25. Greece

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    Greece's struggling economy is not necessarily conducive to thousands of Greek fans travelling to Brazil to cheer on their team this summer.

24. Russia

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    Russian fans wear their colours with pride. According to a survey published by Time, their supporters plan to spend as much as €48 each on football merchandise this summer.

    It would appear that Russian supporters will be easily identifiable in Brazil.

23. Costa Rica

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    Costa Rica are one of the smallest teams to have qualified for the World Cup, with a population smaller than that of Rio de Janeiro.

    However, they'll be determined to show that size doesn't matter. Their dedicated fans will make the relatively short journey south to support their team against Uruguay, England and Italy.

22. Honduras

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    Honduran fans will want to use the World Cup to put their nation on the footballing map.

    It's not a particularly long trip to Brazil. Having fought so hard to make it to the tournament, Honduran supporters are certain to be eager to enjoy the experience.

21. Switzerland

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    The Swiss stereotype is that of placid neutrality. In reality, their fans are just as ferociously supportive as any other nation at the World Cup.

    They will hope to give legendary coach Ottmar Hitzfeld the send-off he deserves in Brazil.

20. Belgium

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    This is the most exciting Belgian team for many years, and support for the youthful, gifted squad has swelled. If Belgium successfully navigate the group stage, more supporters may travel out to Brazil to join the throng.

19. Ghana

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    Ghana's fans have been some of the most widely popular of recent World Cups. Their singing, dancing and idiosyncratic dress sense have made them revered among other supporters.

18. Spain

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    Spanish fans are not great travellers, as demonstrated by the low away attendances in La Liga matches.

    They may hold the World Cup trophy, but they will not hold the strongest support in Brazil.

17. Nigeria

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    For Nigerians, the World Cup represents a fantastic chance for scattered fans to unite in one place. Nigerians from all over the globe will come together to support their team in Brazil.

16. South Korea

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    Ever since the 2002 World Cup, South Koreans have been revered for their fanatical support of their nation's international football team.

    Brazil should be no different: However many Koreans make the trip, their dedication will be nigh-on unmatched.

15. Portugal

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    The Portugese fans will feel more at home in Brazil than most, simply because of the shared linguistic roots.

    Portugal's supporters will hope that their idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, stamps his name all over the tournament.

14. Netherlands

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    Wherever they go, the Dutch fans are instantly recognisable. The Oranje supporters live up to their team's nickname by dressing head to toe in orange, in what is one of the most spectacular sights in football.

13. Japan

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    There are more than 1.5 million Japanese people living in Brazil, who will doubtless be joined by many tourists to form a formidable support base this summer.

12. Ecuador

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    Ecuador fans will bring an alternative wave of yellow to the shores of Brazil.

    Their team might not be one of the favourites for the tournament, but their supporters are expected to make quite the impression.

11. Uruguay

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    Uruguay, like all the South American nations, will have a significant fanbase at Brazil 2014.

    Uruguay supporters will not allow the injury to Luis Suarez to temper their excitement about a tournament on their home continent.

10. France

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    France fans are optimistic of recapturing their 1998 glory this summer. Over 34,000 tickets have been sold to French supporters, and they will inject some Gallic passion into proceedings in Brazil.

9. Chile

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    Chile face a challenging group, but they know they can rely on extraordinary levels of support from their fans.

    The Mirror says that they've snapped up more than 30,000 tickets to the tournament. Many more Chileans without tickets will doubtless make the relatively short trip to Brazil.

8. Australia

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    According a report in The Mirror, Australian fans have bought more than 40,000 tickets for the World Cup.

    Their supporters will show real dedication to travel to South America and get behind their youthful team.

7. Colombia

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    Colombia borders with Brazil, and as such thousands of the country's fans are expected to pour over the divide to support their team at the forthcoming tournament.

    Colombia's strong support and array of attacking talent make them a dark horse to reach the competition's latter stages.

6. England

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    According to The Mirror, an army of 10,000 England fans will be heading to Brazil this summer. An FA spokesman has commented:

    It is great that around 5,000 official England fans will be travelling to support the team in Brazil this summer. The support they have given the team during the qualifying campaign—both home and away—has been fantastic and this looks set to continue during the World Cup.

    They'll be sure to make their presence felt and back the team to the hilt.

5. Germany

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    The Germans know how to party. Having purchased as many as 55,000 tickets (according to The Mirror), they'll be sure to embrace the carnival spirit in Brazil this summer.

4. Mexico

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    Football-obsessed Mexicans are widely expected to flock to Brazil for the World Cup. Although nine countries have bought more tickets, it's expected that a fleet of expatriate Mexicans will arrive from other nations, such as the USA.

    You won't miss them when they get there: Mexican fans are renowned for their extrovert tendencies.

3. USA

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    A study from the World Soccer Journal shows that, excluding Brazil, no nation bought more World Cup tickets than the United States of America.

    Their relatively close proximity to Brazil ensures they will lend their team strong support throughout the tournament.

2. Argentina

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    As the second-largest country in South America, Argentina are bound to have a huge following at the World Cup.

    Most of their fixtures take place in the south of Brazil, too, so they could effectively become home games for the Argentine squad.

1. Brazil

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    According to The Mirror, Brazilian fans have snapped up more than a million tickets for this summer's tournament. Most of those travelling across Brazil during the World Cup will be natives who are traversing their country to soak up the atmosphere and catch the games.

    It's not just the pure numbers that make Brazil's fans the best—they're enormously passionate and colourful, too.