The title of this post is not a mistake. Rather it is driven by an overview (see here for full piece) of player nationality and region of birth at World Cups since 2002. This in-depth work explores the past four World Cups and the current tournament and finds that France has been most successful at producing players to perform at the tournament.
Since Korea and Japan, France has provided 216 players at five world cups. While more than half have represented their country of birth, squad limits of 23 mean that 100+ have represented other nations. This is no doubt a consequence of France's colonial past. Players born in the country have put many international jerseys on, including the likes of Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Ivory Coast.
As we head towards the end of Week 1 at the 2018 World Cup, it is interesting to examine a possible team that the city of Paris could field. The eleven would include the likes of Bernard Mendy, N'golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. What is even more remarkable is the fact that the team could include the likes of Anthony Martial, Riyad Mahrez and Kingsely Coman, none of which made it to Russia.
From an Irish perspective, 12 players born on this island, make the overall list. This might appear to be low and places the country second last behind Iceland, Togo, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. This can be explained by a number of factors.
Firstly, the Irish team last reached the World Cup finals in 2002 so there is a single observation. Secondly, as the world's first colony, Irish squads are often dominated by players who's parents and grandparent migrated to England, Wales and Scotland. Lastly, migration to Ireland is a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, this did not significantly start until the early 2000s. However, things might be about to change. Most migration to Ireland in this time has come from Eastern Europe and West Africa. Children born in this country, whose parents emigrated to Ireland, could now be as old as 17 or 18. In the not too distance future we may start to see children born in places such as Dublin and Cork represent countries like Poland, Latvia, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
And of course, we would also argue that the Irish figures should be higher, and France around 20 lower. We haven't forgotten about Thierry Henry and that handball in Paris in 2009. I don't think we ever will.