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Thanks to Eusébio, it’s common for European nations’ football fortunes to depend on African players today

Historian Eric Hobsbawn once wrote of the centrality of national soccer teams to national identity in Europe, that “the imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people.” And that allows it to represent a more inclusive image of the national idea, as in the case of France’s 1998 World Cup victory with a team dominated by black and Arab players. But it was Eusébio and his Mozambican, Cape Verdean and Angolan teammates that first gave a European country a different image of itself on the football field.