Argentines: Argentina’s President, Alberto Fernandez, has announced that he will not attend tonight’s final against France, lest his country lose and people think he is a bad luck charm. What accounts for Argentina’s enthusiasm for the World Cup?
Argentina’s fans are renowned for their rhythmic singing, relentless drumming, and trance-like ferocity during the World Cup. Few countries can match the country’s World Cup record of success—champions in 1978 and 1986, and runners-up three times. This fervour will only grow as Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, faces reigning champion France in Sunday’s final in Qatar.
People are watching the World Cup from Brazil to Belgium, Mexico to Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to Spain. Few fans, however, are as devoted as Argentina’s or as numerous in Qatar. “Above that, people are also quite proud of that intensity,” said Santiago Alles, a political science professor at Argentina’s University of San Andres. “We’re the best at it, and we’re the most concerned about it.”
Argentina is suffering from 100% inflation, high unemployment, slow economic growth, and divisive politics. But none of that even matters when it comes to the World Cup. Even the opposition political parties agree to a ceasefire because they recognise that only positive soccer talk will suffice. “Opportunities to mainly defeat the global North are not common for a country in the global South,” Alles explained.
“The World Cup provides an opportunity to do so. One’s sense of patriotism cannot be taken away. Alles noted that images posted on Argentine social media showed Japanese supporters in Qatar imitating Argentina’s cheering style, including the melodies, pounding drums, and improvised Japanese lyrics. “We are exporting our way of watching sports to other places, far-off places with completely different cultures,” Alles says. There’s a hint of arrogance there.
Alles admitted that he doesn’t know why soccer “has such a pervasive presence in social life,” but it is everywhere. “And it has been that very way for at least a century,” Alles continued. I saw a photo of a large crowd listening to the 1930 World Cup radio broadcast. The first World Cup final, held at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, saw Uruguay defeat Argentina 4-2.
Within the DNA: Argentines
Soccer is frequently the first and last topic discussed in Argentina, from sunrise to sunset, at work or with friends. “This is a culture where mainly soccer is related to almost every activity in our life,” said Pablo Ava, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Buenos Aires. It’s not just passion; it’s also identification. The fervour you see in Qatar reflects the fervour you see in local clubs.
In Buenos Aires, one of the greatest club rivalries is played out between Boca Juniors and River Plate. Juan Domingo Peron backed Racing Club, one of Argentina’s “Big Five” clubs, wholeheartedly. He was also assigned a stadium name. Ava declared that soccer is important. It comes up in our discussion. It is present in our lives. a cherished family custom. a piece of our DNA. The link between your personal life and soccer is extremely strong.
It’s a political issue.
Being president of Boca Juniors helped Mauricio Macri win the mayorship of Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires and, later, the presidency of Argentina (2015-19). Other politicians have direct or indirect ties to a variety of clubs. Sergio Massa, the country’s economy minister, and has been a leader at Tigre club and is credited with some of the club’s success in being promoted to the first division.
Marci chose the political arena over the business world. “He appeared as the president of Boca Juniors, which has won 17 cups (tournament),” Ava explained. “So many people start to see soccer teams as a springboard to a career in politics. Soccer and politics have begun to get along very well, according to Ava, because you get favourable TV exposure and can share your soccer success with the public.
The inverse is also correct. Macri was in attendance for Argentina’s defeat to Saudi Arabia in the World Cup’s first group stage match a few weeks ago. At home, Macri was regarded as a bad omen. The current president, Alberto Fernandez, has stated that he will not attend the championship. He will not jeopardise his presidency by attending the final game in Qatar, according to Ava.
Principle of Unity
Argentina’s national soccer team is a unique unifying force. Argentinans can disagree on almost anything.
“It is the factor that unites everyone in a highly polarised country,” says Mark Jones, a professor of Latin American politics at Rice University in Houston.
The team consistently outperforms, which is something to be proud of.
Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands, also known as Las Malvinas in Spanish and located off Argentina’s Atlantic coast but under British control, is the only other strong unifier. Argentina lost a brief conflict over the islands in 1982. “Argentines see their standard of living as significantly worse than it was three or four years ago,” according to Jones, and “they see the country as maily having gone downhill over the last 75 years.”
As a result, they are looking for something to hold onto that will make them happy. The national team and the World Cup provide this. Argentines are “not mere caring now to talk about inflation, unemployment, because we are going through something that appears to be more important — at least for a few more days,” according to sociologist Ava. Politics must take a brief respite in order for soccer to continue.
Superstitious Argentines are taking no chances ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final, dressing in reverse, carrying a picture of Diego Maradona or also a stamp featuring the saint of urgent causes, and even sitting in the same chair as a grandmother.
“I wore the blue and also white jersey with the number 10 against Saudi Arabia, but I wore it backwards against Mexico,” Julio Tresto, 55, of Buenos Aires’ Flores district, told AFP. Argentina, which lost their first World Cup match 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, has since found their stride and has won five straight games.
“Since then, I’ve worn it backwards every time, and we’ve continued to triumph. When it works out in football, you never break the superstition.” Tresto extra
He will do the same thing when Argentina faces defending champions France in the World Cup final on Sunday in Doha in an attempt to help Argentina win the World Cup for the third time in their history.
Football maniacs follow their special rituals throughout Buenos Aires and Argentina.
Every ritual is meticulously carried out in the home of fashion designer Graciela Castro, 58, in the Almagro district of Buenos Aires, which also serves as the home of Pope Francis’ football team, San Lorenzo.
“Same trousers, same shirt, I don’t use the bathroom during the game, and of course I insult the enemy with refinement because they’re French,” she smirked.
Alma Mauri, a 15-year-old secondary school student from the Avellaneda neighbourhood, claims she wears “the same Argentina jersey that hasn’t been washed since the second match, and I put all my World Cup figurines on the table.”
Guillermo Martinez’s ritual is extremely precise. “I’m sitting with my legs crossed and one foot pointed at the opposing goal. In the second half, I alternately cross my legs.”
Monica Gomez, his partner, is always carrying a Maradona autograph, a picture of her daughter, and a Saint Expeditus stamp.
FIFA invited Argentina World Cup winner Daniel “the Frog” Valencia to watch the final in Qatar, but he declined due to “a crazy tradition.”
“My son got irritated because he couldn’t understand why I didn’t travel,” Valencia told Radio AM750. “I told him he would understand me when he becomes a father.”
“Look what you’re doing,” I tell myself, but I still sit in the same spot and wear my underwear backwards. My children have also begun to do this.
Cristian Oberosler, 54, and Lucrecia Airaldi, 50, will watch the final together despite their divorce. Airaldi and her current partner watched Argentina’s first game, but she was in a Palermo bar with her ex-husband and their daughter for the second.
They’ve done it for every game since, and they’ll do it again “on Sunday at the same table reserved for the occasion.”
Ignacio Farone, 24, lives in Capital with his grandmother Clara, 86, who “sits in the same chair as a photo of Maradona.” However, every now and then, the rigid ritual has nothing to do with superstition. You can only listen to the most recent music on JioSaavn.com. Mario Losada, 44, claims that watching football causes him so much anxiety that it “makes me very sick.”
edited and proofread by nikita sharma