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Play the World Cup Countries With ETFs

By Michael Johnston of ETF Database.

One of the greatest spectacles in sports kicks off in South Africa over the weekend, with 32 countries gathering to compete in the final stages of the World Cup. Even the economists of the world have taken an interest in the upcoming matches; ABN Amro recently released a note predicting that the world economy would benefit more from a German victory than if any other national team were to win.

In reality, any connection between success on the soccer pitch and an economic boost would be minimal. The biggest winner over the coming month could be South Africa, which has a chance to display its infrastructure and business environment to the world. To get in the spirit as the competition begins, we run through the 32 competitors, highlighting the ETF options available for each (for more ETF insights, sign up for our free ETF newsletter.

Group A

France: The iShares MSCI France Index Fund (EWQ) offers pure play exposure to French equities.

Mexico: Several ETFs in the Latin America Equities ETFdb Category include Mexican equities, and the iShares MSCI Investable Market Index Fund (EWW) offers targeted exposure. ProShares also offers 200% and -200% Mexico ETFs (UMX and SMK, respectively).

South Africa: The host country's equity market is accessible through the iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (EZA), while the WisdomTree Dreyfus South African Rand Fund (SZR) offers exposure to the exchange rate and money market rates.

Uruguay: There's no pure play Uruguay ETF, but a number of the broad-based funds in the Latin America Equities ETFdb Category offer indirect exposure through stocks that derive a portion of their revenues from the country.

Group B

Argentina: This South American economy is one of the largest without a pure play ETF available to U.S. investors. Some funds in the Latin America Equities ETFdb Category offer moderate exposure, including the Market Vectors Latin America Small Cap Index ETF (LATM).

Greece: Greek equities have a small allocation in many broad-based Europe ETF, but there's no pure play covering the beleaguered Greek economy. The Claymore Shipping ETF (SEA), expected to be re-launched soon, will be the closest thing to a Greece ETF; the country will account for about 20% of assets.

Nigeria: There's no dedicated Nigeria ETF available, but this long-shot to win in South Africa receives the third largest allocation in the Market Vectors Africa ETF (AFK), making up almost 20% of assets.
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