Soccer is one seemingly unmistakable way of measuring countries against one another — every game has a final score, after all. A far starker point of measurement is warfare. Before the post-World War II era and the creation of a far more peaceful and cooperative international order, military might was synonymous with a country’s power and ambitions.
That’s not as true anymore. And a quick look at the militaries of the eight remaining World Cup finalists show that countries with vastly different military policies can keep pace with one another on one of the biggest stages on earth.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) here are the military expenditures for the World Cup’s remaining eight nations. The figures are represented in current $USUSD.
Costa Rica $US0
In 1948, Costa Rica’s then president Jose Figueres renounced its military. In lieu of an army, Costa Rica has a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security.
Although Argentina has the smallest defence budget of the remaining militarized World Cup nations, they have a large force, with more than 73,000 more troops than Germany. The Argentines have 281 aircraft and 42 war ships.
Mark Renders | Getty Images
Belgium maintains the smallest active military of the remaining militarized World Cup nations, with roughly 34,000 troops, 166 aircraft, and 22 war ships.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
The Netherlands only employ slightly more than 47,000 active soldiers, the second lowest total of the seven remaining World Cup nations that maintain a military. The Netherlands has 160 aircraft and 56 war ships.
Carlos Villalon | Getty Images
Colombia has the largest active military in South America, with more than 444,000 active soldiers, the 12th highest total in the world. Colombia has 451 aircraft and 164 war ships.
Brazil maintains the second-largest army in South America, and the 13th-largest world-wide, with more than 327,000 active members. The country also has more than 1,740,000 reserve soldiers, double the amount of even the United States. In addition to a former French aircraft carrier, the South American nation has 748 aircraft and 109 war ships.
The German army was recreated in former West Germany in 1955 after the nation’s military was dissolved following World War II. It currently has a force of more than 62,000 soldiers. Germany also has 720 aircraft and 82 war ships.
France has around 200,000 troops, with 36,000 stationed in foreign nations. France is the only country left in the World Cup with nuclear weapons. The French president, who is currently François Hollande, is the only official who can order a nuclear strike. Currently, France has roughly 300 nukes, in addition to 1,203 aircraft, 120 war ships, and multiple aircraft carriers.
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