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Plenty of soothing benefits to World Cup fever

By Agence France-Presse in Paris ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-05-29 06:55:10

The World Cup is the holy grail and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the prophets - it is not just a game for the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans heading for Brazil.

A growing body of scholars see soccer playing an under-appreciated role as keeper of society's well-being - providing a sense of identity with an almost religious role.

The late Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said soccer is more important than "life and death". But Pele's "beautiful game" might also be providing a healthy outlet for tribalistic aggression.

Plenty of soothing benefits to World Cup fever

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