Unloving Cup

A screen shot of a televised World Cup match showing team country codes spelling out a racial pejorative was taken from a video game.

Claim: A screen shot from a World Cup match shows team country codes spelling out a racial pejorative.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, June 2010]

Did ESPN really show this during a game vs Niger and Germany in a world cup one year?

Origin:This purported screen shot from a football (i.e. soccer) match televised by ESPN, in which the country code for Niger and Germany combine to spell out a notorious racial pejorative, was circulated on the Internet during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and again during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Although this image is sometimes said to represent a match between Nigeria and Germany, the flag displayed on the left-hand side and the country code NIG both represent the country of Niger, not Nigeria. The screen shot itself is clearly not a real depiction of a televised match between those two countries' national teams, because not only did Germany not play a match against Niger during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but not once in the last 100+ years has the German national team played a match against the national team from Niger. The image displayed here appears to be screen capture from EA Sports' 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa video game, which displays an identical scoreboard style:

In the unlikely event of these two teams' meeting each other in a World Cup match, most likely the order of display for the two nations' country codes would be reversed (i.e., to spell out GER NIG rather than a common racial pejorative).

Last updated: 30 July 2016

Originally published: 25 June 2014

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