Dossier: FIFA World Cup 2014

German footballers Lukas Podolski (l.), Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira and Per Mertesacker. Photo: picture-alliance/augenklick/firo Sportphoto

Soccer as a force for integration

Success through diversity

Mesut Özil and his team colleagues not only represent multicultural Germany: they also serve as popular role models within German society. This shows that football should be afforded greater recognition as a force for integration, says Shohreh KarimianMore

Members of the Algerian national soccer team (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

FIFA World Cup 2014: Algeria

"My money's on Algeria and Russia"

The Algerian national squad are aiming to realise a dream at the World Cup in Brazil: to finally make it through to the second round. Algerian sports commentator Hafiz Deraji believes this is eminently possible and that Algeria and Russia will survive the group stage. He spoke to Adil ChroatMore

Vahid Hashemian of Iran (centre) challenges Fernando Meira (left) and Miguel of Portugal during the first round match between Portugal and Iran at the 2006 World Cup (photo: ULMER/Florian Eisele)

FIFA World Cup 2014: Iran

Lack of experience is the greatest obstacle

Vahid Hashemian played for the Iranian national squad during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In an interview with Farid Ashrafian, he recalls the 2006 championship, compares current players with those of his own generation and considers the prospects for Iran in 2014More

Samir Nasri (photo: Reuters)

The French Football Star Samir Nasri

Anything but Pussy-Footed

The French national football team has regained its strength. And one of the players who had a large part to play in that achievement is Samir Nasri – whose family's roots lie in Algeria. Nasri's hot temper has often caused trouble – both on and off the pitch. By André TucicMore

Franck Ribéry during prayer. Photo by larsbaron bongarts getty images.jpg

The Integrative Power of Football

Those Who Score, Get to Pray to Allah

It appears as if Islam is always perceived only as a threat. Yet, when soccer players pray to Allah, it is a popularly acclaimed declaration of faith. Nonetheless, the football pitch still has a long way to go to becoming a multicultural paradise, says Claus LeggewieMore

Karim Benzema Foto getty images

Karim Benzema

The Boy Next Door

There's no place like home – if you ask Karim Benzema, French football's diamond in the rough. He still lives at home with his parents and eight siblings and is loyal to his home team, Olympique Lyon. A portrait by André TucicMore

Franck Ribéry (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Franck Bilal Ribéry

''Always Believe in God''

Franck Ribéry has never been in better shape, and - winning the Champions League plus the award for Best Player in Europe - 2013 has been the best year of his career. Yet things have not always been so rosy for Ribéry, a devout Muslim and former construction worker; not everything in his career has come easy. A portrait by André TucicMore