How Many Teams Could Your Favorite World Cup Star Have Played For?

Diego Costa's decision to play for Spain—even though he was born and raised in Brazil—didn't seem to help La Roja all that much on Friday, but FIFA's wisely broad nationality rules still piss off a lot of people. Those rules stipulate that players who haven't collected a senior-level international cap can choose to play for the national teams of the following types of countries:

  • Countries they were born in.
  • Countries their biological mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather was born in.
  • Countries they've lived in for five consecutive years, since turning 18.

Over on Codehesive, James Offer has put together a neat chord diagram showing the "ancestral and international connections between teams." The U.S., and its 13 connected players, is shown above. Once you've played for a national team, you're locked in, so you don't have to worry about someone like Tim Howard bolting for Hungary, where his mother was born.

Switzerland, nestled in the heart of Europe, has the most connections, with 15 players holding 21 other eligibilities, while 16 of the 23 players on Algeria's roster were born in France, an echo of the country's colonial era. On the other side of things, Brazil's squad has just one "internationally connected" player (Marcello, who has Spanish citizenship), but six players on other teams are connected to Brazil. Go give all the teams a look over at Codehesive.