Diego Maradona

Argentina’s Passion for Soccer

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I‘ve been writing about soccer a lot lately and I’m not even a huge soccer fan. But I love the World Cup, and this is my first time being in Argentina during the World Cup. You really can’t be in Argentina right now and not feel the passion.

You also can’t be here right now and leave without knowing that Argentina’s flag is blue and white (even the stores are decked out patriotically). On May 25, Argentina celebrated its Bicentennial and last Monday was flag day. On July 9, they’ll celebrate Independence Day, so we’ve got a few more weeks of blue and white!

But back to soccer. Just what is it about soccer and the World Cup that makes people all over the world go crazy? I think Argentinean commercials do a great job of explaining the madness to those  who just don’t get what this soccer craze is. Watch these two ads with the ones we posted last week and two weeks ago, and I hope you’ll start to feel the craze, too (and root for Argentina on Sunday!)

A Sport for Everyone

In this spot from the 2006 World Cup, you’ll see your average guys pretending they can really kick butt on the soccer field (but typically not kicking butt at all). The point here is that soccer is something we all share and while we may not all be World Cup talents, the team represents all of those back home who would love nothing more than to be there, too.

The song is in Italian (soccer’s roots in Argentina come from the Italian immigrants) and it talks a bit about feeling your heart in your throat and a great adventure. Each time I watch this spot, I crack up at different parts. The guy who tries fancy moves and falls down, the attempted goal that hits the ref in the chest, the coach explaining the play to three guys who look totally lost. Hilarious.

The final words say, “Do it for all of those (us) who didn’t make it there.”

Love, Hate, Love, Hate

This one is a Quilmes ad from the America’s Cup in 2007. Two fans love and then hate and then love and then hate the team.

The final words say, “I love you. I hate you. That’s love.” And that’s soccer. And that’s Argentinean passion: love, hate, love, hate.

I Still Don’t Get Soccer

I’m not going to pretend I can explain the ins and outs of soccer, but that’s also not what I love about the World Cup. I mean, it’s not that I don’t care to understand how it’s possible that the US could have been robbed a goal (or two) by bad calls. I do care about those things when I’m watching the game. But that’s not the beauty of the World Cup.

For me, the fun is in watching all of these nations compete (a lot like the Olympics but not as time-consuming). Some nations are there for the first time and everyone is excited for them and rooting for them, to some degree. Some nations are going through difficult periods and everyone is hoping they can shrug off some of the humiliation of whatever it is they’ve been going through because we’ve all been there. Some nations are the powerhouses and you have to hope they lose (France and Italy this year) because they aren’t playing well and don’t deserve to be there. It’s shared globally and it feels good.

Want to read more? Discover Buenos Aires has a great post on World Cup Fever. And there’s another fun post at Road Games called Crazy for the Copa.

Are you a new World Cup fan? What do you love, hate, love, hate about soccer?

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8 Comments To This Article… add one

        • Little Miss Random

          November 15, 2010, 8:56 pm Reply

          Hi Angela,

          I’m back from my trip to Buenos Aires which means that I’m missing out on el superclasico! Sigh. The best-laid plans of mice and men… Still, I guess that just means that I’ll have to return to Buenos Aires some time soon! 🙂

        • Little Miss Random

          October 24, 2010, 1:38 pm Reply

          Hi there,

          I’m leaving in a couple of days for a two week trip to Argentina. I was quite excited to find that my time in Buenos Aires coincides with el Superclasico. However, as I’ve heard lots of things regarding hooligans and violence and all that, I’m quite nervous, and I’m just wondering for some independent advice. Should I get a Popular ticket from a hostel and go with the other hostel dwellers? I think it’s a Popular ticket for the home side that the hostel are getting. Or should I spend more for a Platea Baja San Martin ticket? I’m told the Popular ticket will probably be more atmospheric because I’ll be going with a whole bunch of other hostel people whom I will just have met, but, and this is the part I’m not sure about, I’m a 5 foot 3 Chinese female. I’m not tall, I’m obviously a tourist, and… mainly, I’m not tall.

          I’d appreciate any advice you have on this!

          Thanks. 🙂

        • Angela @SanTelmoLoft

          October 24, 2010, 1:52 pm Reply

          Hey there Little Miss Random (nice name!)….

          Personally, I would not worry about going in the popular section. I think it’s being played in River’s stadium and there are still seats in the popular section. It’s a little less crazy than if Boca were the home team. However, I wouldn’t bring much money and I’d hold on to my camera at all times. I probably also wouldn’t pull out an iPhone or any other fancy cell.

          People always say that it’s dangerous, and there are some horror stories online. But a lot of the stories I’ve read have to do with getting ripped off when trying to buy tickets on the streets. We went to a Boca match, bought our tickets at the stadium (though they were in the platea section, not the popular one), and we even filmed the entire event with a small camcorder. We didn’t have any problems. That said, I’d be more wary of getting a popular ticket to a Boca home game. Yet, if I were going with a large group of hostelers or other tourists, I’d love to experience the popular section. It’s a crazy wave of non-stop singing and chanting. Very tribal. It hardly seems like they even watch the game.

          It’s hard to advise you since we all have different comfort levels and I hear you when you mention twice that you’re short. But Argentines are not particularly tall and they’re not crazy drunk violent fans like in many other parts of the world. They don’t care if the team is winning or losing. They keep cheering.

          Ok, for fear of going on too long… I’ll just say I hope this helps and if you have any other questions, please do let me know.


        • Little Miss Random

          October 24, 2010, 5:47 pm Reply

          Hi Angela,

          Thanks for the reply.. and for liking the name too! I’m afraid I’m no longer that little, though am still a miss and am definitely as random as ever. I’ll go ahead and get the Popular ticket then. It’s my first time to Latin America, and I’m very much looking forward to it, though it’s been a while since I backpacked solo!

          I’m definitely printing out a large chunk of your website to read on the plane. 🙂

        • Katie

          June 28, 2010, 8:56 pm Reply

          I’ve never been a huge soccer fan (besides playing youth soccer as a kid and thinking soccer players are mighty attractive as an adult), but I’ve been caught up in World Cup fever through a few friends who are huge soccer fans. It’s surprisingly fun!

        • Angela

          June 29, 2010, 1:21 pm Reply

          Hi Katie! I’m so excited to see people in the States following the World Cup. I don’t really follow any sports, but the World Cup is just so much fun. And I think I’m even getting to where I understand the rules now. Oh… and the eye candy certainly helps. Did you see the Vanity Fair World Cup issue?
          Annie Leibovitz has a really great job!

        • Beatrice M

          June 26, 2010, 1:19 pm Reply

          Hey there – nice write up! I am planning on going to Plaza San Martin on Sunday afternoon to watch the game with a large crowd and the large screens. Want to come with? Should be interesting.

        • Angela

          June 26, 2010, 3:06 pm Reply

          I’ve got some friends in town visiting. I’ll be showing them San Telmo tomorrow during the fair. But I’ll take your number with me in case we get over there. Don’t know though… they fly out in early evening so we might not have time. Hope the crowd is huge and fun!

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