Speed Reads

World Cup

John Oliver thinks he's finally found a way to get Americans excited about the World Cup


John Oliver absolutely loves the World Cup, which starts in Brazil this week, but he really hates FIFA, the "cartoonishly evil" organization that puts it on. That's the delicious tension at the heart of Sunday night's Last Week Tonight. Just how bad is FIFA, soccer's global governing body? Oliver plausibly compared it to a Brazilian bikini wax, a kangaroo court, slave-driving Egyptian pharaohs, and extortionists.

After trashing FIFA for about 10 hilarious minutes, Oliver admitted that he's still really, really excited about the World Cup. Which made him circle back to his first point: "I know that in America soccer is something you pick your 10-year-old daughter up from," he said near the beginning, but for everybody else it's more like a religion. "Not just that, it's an organized religion, and FIFA is its church," he concluded — an awful comparison, for the Vatican. If dumping on FIFA and organized religion sounds like a terrible way to get Americans pumped for the World Cup, Oliver sees it differently: "If that comparison doesn't make Americans love soccer, then frankly, nothing will." --Peter Weber