Advertisement
 
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,

The Associated Press Argentina's Lionel Messi pumps his fists after Argentina defeated the Netherlands, 4-2, in a penalty shootout Wednesday in the World Cup semifinals in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Advertisement

Latin Americans reluctantly rally behind Argentina

Friday, July 11, 2014 - Updated: 7:46 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- With a reputation for arrogance and illusions of European-styled grandeur, Argentines have long been the objects of scorn and the butt of jokes across Latin America

But for at least 90 minutes on Sunday, when Argentina takes on Germany in the World Cup final, most Latin Americans will put aside their disdain for their proud neighbors as they look to Lionel Messi and his teammates to salvage what's left of the region's soccer pride.

A defeat for Argentina would be historic: Never has a European team been crowned champion on this side of the Atlantic.

But in the wake of Germany's 7-1 thrashing of host Brazil even the most-devoted believers in the spontaneous and stylish Latin American brand of soccer are wondering if the region is outmatched.

"My heart wants Argentina to win, but my brain says Germany will," confessed Alberto Ramos Salcedo, a Colombian journalist and author who frequently writes about soccer.

That Argentina has stepped into the role as the region's flag bearer is a cruel reversal for many.

An online poll in 19 countries taken by YouGov together with The New York Times prior to the World Cup found that in most Latin American countries surveyed people said the team they rooted against was Argentina, which has won the title twice.

In the early days of the tournament, as Argentina was slow to come to life and underdogs like Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico rained goals on their opponents, a group of Mexican fans in giant sombreros could be seen on Rio de Janeiro's iconic Copacabana Beach playfully provoking anyone dressed in Argentina's blue and white who crossed their path. Their taunt: "Fiesta Latina, sin Argentina," "Fiesta Latina without Argentina."

The animosity toward Argentina stems from the country's settlement by waves of European immigrants beginning in the late 19th century, a demographic marker that long fueled perceptions of economic and cultural superiority over their more indigenous or African-descended neighbors. Even the Italian-influenced Spanish spoken on the streets of Buenos Aires is out of step with the language elsewhere.

Following a humbling 2001 economic collapse, Argentina has courted closer ties with the rest of the region and now looks with envy at Brazil's economic muscle. Coach Alejandro Sabella's motto of "humility and hard work" also stands in stark contrast to the flash and brash exuded by Argentina's manager at the previous World Cup: soccer legend Diego Maradona.

But not everyone is dancing the tango, least of all fans in Brazil, who are still agonizing over their team's shocking defeat. The mere presence of their eternal rival playing a final in Brazil's soccer cathedral, Rio's Maracana stadium, is for many a pill too hard to swallow even if they would like to see their loss to Germany avenged.

"There's no way Argentina can win," 23-year-old Ingrid Luana said in Rio.

Brazil's star striker, Neymar, said he'll be cheering on Argentina, but only because he wants to see his Barcelona teammates Messi and Javier Mascherano take a world championship.

For soccer purists, there's little doubt that Germany is the favorite to win.

"The truth is the Argentines are overvalued," said Humberto Melendez, owner of a Mexico City bookstore that specializes in soccer called Futbologia. "But a World Cup in Latin America needs to be won by a Latin American" team.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    B-P boys soccer registers shutout
    Friday, September 12, 2014

    2015 almanac predicting a bitter winter
    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    State campgrounds were cookin' this season
    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Muni to host special guest
    Friday, September 12, 2014

    GASD board discusses Perillo's contract
    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Douglas J. Szyjkowski
    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Man sentenced for welfare fraud
    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Patriots charge past GF, 30-7
    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Another toe-to-toe session at City Hall
    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Hart breaks school rushing record in Braves' romp
    Saturday, September 13, 2014

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media, LLC.

Privacy Policies: Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook