I admit it: The only professional sport I've paid close attention to in recent years has been international politics. But caught up now in the excitement of the World Cup, I was glad to find these sources relating my old obsession to my new, incipient one:
How to Watch the World Cup Commentary: On a game that often amounts to politics by other means, by Tony Karon
How Soccer Explains the World. An interview with Franklin Foer, by Bradford Plumer
Karon's piece compiles anecdotes which probably illustrate something about the game, mainly that it has diverse fans and conflicting vested interests, which you probably already suspected. Such scattered incoherence seems to be typical of most sports writing, which is one reason I've paid more attention to politics. Still, the anecdotes are entertaining and suggestive that something important is going on in global culture dynamics. The Foer interview is a little more coherent: it gives some idea what that might be, and how regionalism v. globalism may play out.
Photo of Carlitos Tévez playing for River, from Vale Chumbar.