Saturday marks the beginning of the World Cup’s knockout stage, the tournament’s most ruthless — lose one game, and you go home. But it also marks the first night of Ramadan, a month-long religious fast during which many Muslims refrain from ingesting food and liquids from sunrise until sunset.
Muslim players competing in the World Cup, then, face a tough choice, as fulfilling the requirements of their religion may affect their performance on the soccer pitch. In Brazil’s timezone, believers who wish to observe the holiday will have to spend approximately 13.5 hours per day fasting. While athletes’ bodies are fine-tuned instruments, that’s still no easy feat when you’re burning up as many calories as international soccer stars do during the World Cup.
Ramadan observance could affect a decent number of World Cup teams: Among the 16 remaining squads, France, Nigeria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Nigeria all have more than…
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