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Reuters/Action Images/Tony O'Brien
The agony of defeat. And spoilers.
GOL!

Soccer fans in Germany and Spain would almost rather know how they’ll die than who won their game

By Corinne Purtill

Researchers at Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development recently asked 2,000 people (pdf) in Germany and Spain if they’d want to know what’s in their future, if such foresight were possible.

Unsurprisingly, most respondents said they’d prefer not to learn the time and manner of their own death or their partner’s, or if their marriage would end in divorce. As the stakes became lower—getting advance knowledge of a baby’s gender, Christmas gifts, the true value of a souvenir bought on vacation—the survey takers’ willingness to have life events spoiled increased.

That is, with one exception.

Asked if they would want to learn the outcome of a recorded world championship soccer game midway through watching, 73.6% of people gave a resounding “no.”

In other words, respondents were only slightly less opposed to spoilers for a World Cup-level final than they were to knowing when they’d die (86.7%), how they’d die (85.8%) or if their marriage would end (86.2%).

Sometimes the outcome of a game really can feel like a matter of life and death.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that 76.9%, 87.7%, 87.3% and 86.5% of study participants did not want to know about soccer outcomes, time and cause of death, and divorce, respectively. Those numbers were for German participants only; the correct totals are 73.6%, 86.7%, 85.8%, and 86.2%.