After 64 games and 171 goals, the 2014 FIFA World Cup has come to a close. Through wins, losses, penalty kicks and tears, the participating teams gave us a great show this year and for that we should all be grateful. This is certainly easier said than done, however, especially in Argentina, whose team reached the championship for the first time in 24 years, only to lose to Germany in the final moments of the match. Regardless, along the path to the championship, Argentine fans were continuously provided with suspenseful games, exciting moments and most of all, a chance to unite together in support of our beloved team.
Highly anticipated every 4 years, the arrival of the World Cup is always a cause for celebration in Argentina. From television ads reminding us of the approaching tournament to the multitude of national flags on display in shops and residential buildings alike, the World Cup in Argentina is something like a national holiday. From the time we are children, after all, in addition to learning the normal things like reading, writing and basic manners, we learn about our country’s tradition of futbol. We hear stories of our ancestors who arrived from Europe and saw futbol as a way to take pride in their new country. We see pictures of our families packed into a living room to cheer on Argentina together. We learn about the history of our national team and quickly come to respect the tradition. For us, futbol is not just a sport; it’s a part of who we are.
While this tradition sets us apart from other countries, similar to any country, political issues in Argentina can sometimes cause a great deal of disagreement. In some cases these disagreements result in a sort of rift in society, forcing people to choose between one of two camps with which they identify. Unfortunately the current political landscape in Argentina can be characterized by this type of rift. While we are nowhere near a civil war, the political divide between the two sides is palpable and society has definitely been affected. However, as these political disagreements continued to occupy our newspapers and news programs, a few months ago another major event began vying for news coverage. The 2014 World Cup was approaching, something all of us could agree was good news.
As the tournament progressed and Argentina’s team continued to advance, the mood in our country changed. No longer were people preoccupied with political disagreements, but rather the societal rift that had developed over the past few years seemed to be disappearing. In its place, a growing sense of optimism emerged. Our country was unified behind our team and nothing, not even politics, could disrupt the tradition of supporting our team in the World Cup. This was never more obvious than after Argentina beat the Netherlands to secure a spot in the championship match. Buenos Aires became ground zero for a massive celebration of our team’s success. People from all over the city flooded the streets, converging together in the city’s focal point, the Obelisk, waving flags and blowing horns on their way. In this moment, for the first time in years, there was no room for trivial disagreements. We were one country again. United behind the great tradition that our families passed down to us, we celebrated together, as one. For in this moment, we remembered the one thing we all have in common: our love for our national team and the tradition it represents.
Written by Will Collier