So what do you get when you take a country that’s hooked on soccer and mix it with a world-wide competition when the entire population is convinced that god (meaning Maradona, the head coach and national deity) is on their side? Have you guessed yet? Yup, its Argentina during the World Cup. Does anyone in America even know that the World Cup is going on, never mind care? yeah, I didnt really think so (confession: I played soccer all four years of college, and this is the first time that even I’ve ever watched a World Cup game).
Well, not only does Argentina know that the World Cup is taking place, it is the only thing that they’ve been talking about for weeks now. And when they play, the whole world stops for those 90 minutes. No but really, every stops whatever they are doing and watches the game. There even is this theory floating around that during games its like a stake of anarchy, because even the police stop and are all focused on the game. A little extreame, maybe, but it gets the idea across.
This isnt my first experience seeing a country addicted to soccer; Honduras is very much the same. The night that Honduras qualified was the best spontaneous celebration of just pure happiness of I have ever experienced. It was like the whole population was out in the streets dancing and cheering. And because the outcome of US vs Costa Rica game determined if Honduras made it in, even though we barely managed to tie (and by barely I mean like we didnt score until the last 5 minutes), that was still enough to make all the Americans in Tegus instant celebrities – strangers in the street would yell to us like “thank you so much America!” ha never felt so appreciated just for being American.
So with all this in mind, of course we had to go down to one of the main plazas where a gigantic screen had been set up to watch the big Argentina/Germany game yesterday. I mean, my classes in the university had even been suspended so that we all could watch the game, so it was pretty much a requirement (besides, who really wants to sit through accounting on a Saturday morning anyway?).
The game started at 11am, and we got there early to be sure to find a space, they were saying that people were leaving the clubs (which dont close here until like 8am anyway) and going straight to the plaza, ha, and I definitely believe it! There was a good-sized crowd there, but the initial optimism was quickly sombered by the goal Germany scored in only the first five minutes, and then definitely just got worse with each of the following three goals. There was one very brief moment of celebrate when Argentina scored, but that slight hope was killed just an instant later when it was called (very correctly) off-sides.
So, now Argentina is out of the World Cup. But at least they didnt take it as badly as the Hondurans did after the US/Honduras game (which obviously the US won), where people were pulling of their jerseys and burning them right there in the stands of the stadium. I never wished for my own team to lose as I did during that game.
I was really hoping for Argentina to win it all, rather selfishly though, just so I could experience that crazy celebration once again. Nothing like feeling the elation of an incredible accomplishment you had no part in creating!