Argentina Break The Spell In The World Cup
Where do I start?
Argentina started disastrously, but somehow have managed to reach the final on Sunday and in retrospect, not by the skin of their teeth, but by sheer talent and, dare I say it, passion.
Living in Argentina has completely changed my idea of ‘the passion’ and I now embrace it with everything I have, because it’s utterly contagious and beyond description.
When Argentina played against Mexico, I left my wife with her son and his girlfriend to watch the match at home, hopped on my bike and rode into town, knowing that the entire country will have ground to a halt. And it did.
I passed by tiny cafeterias, with men and women, many wearing Messi’s #10 shirt, all glued to the tiny screen, with police officers, their bikes parked, gawping at the TV, willing the team to score a goal.
At 64 minutes played, I just happened to arrive at a huge plaza next to the American Embassy, felt a roar of expectation, started filming and Messi scored the first goal.
I saw the crowd rise, their roars of delight, the dust rising under their feet in front of the giant screens, with fans hugging each other in ecstasy.
It’s not just a game in Argentina and woe betide you if you suggest such an outrage. It’s an escape; a relief from the torture of double-talk and bullshit. And believe me, Argentines know a lot about that, having had their lives destroyed time after time and this is their way of dealing with the crap that is piled upon them, and boy, do they do it in style!
My wife is Argentine, but she is also compassionate, and supported me with England and Wales, so when they departed, I had no other choice. Well, as if I wanted any other team to win anyway.
Football has a huge uniting effect in any country you could mention and all partisan barriers fall to the ground, because they are seen as the imposters they really are, between the black and white of a football score, whether you like it or not.
Anyway, fellow sufferers, I won’t bore you any longer. Suffice to say that the moment has arrived and Sunday will be a day that I, for one, will never forget.
I won’t be watching at home, because I need to feel the country, the city, the people, the cafeterias in a unique two hours, which could make history for Argentina, when it needs it the most.
So, while the rest of Argentina is praying for glory and willing Messi to deliver, which I know he will, I will be absorbing, on my motorcycle, by osmosis, a day that will never be forgotten.
I count myself lucky.