The turn of the century marked a sea change in the vibrancy of western economies. From that point onwards underlying unleveraged growth and GDPs behaved as if they were swimming through treacle. I would argue that was because America went into the final stage of decline. Interestingly this also coincided with the new inflationary commodity cycle of a new K wave with increased input prices further imposing themselves on a sub dynamic American and western economy. This turning point coincided with 9/11.
Every empire has had a game that personifies its values and represents its national culture. Rugby was the game of the British empire, from which it has since spread to many nations outside the commonwealth. Indeed, the Japanese world cup has been the most enormous success in strengthening the ties between the people of Japan and its western allies, at a time when the participants are being forced to grow ever closer in their alliance to contain Chinese expansionary ambitions.
The adage that empires pull themselves apart from the inside before they succumb to external rising powers, is born out repeatedly across history. Today it is the American Empire that is well into its decline, with Trump attempting to lead his nations comeback to fend off China.