Argentina lauds united footballers in divided crisis-riven country | Football News

BUENOS AIRES: For the past month, Lionel Messi and his Argentina his teammates have brought success and unity to their fans, in stark contrast to the country’s struggling economy and polarized political landscape.
Years of economic crisis weigh heavily on the daily lives of people in a country where some 40% live in poverty, as rampant inflation and currency depreciation have decimated the savings and purchasing power of ordinary citizens .
And yet, on Sunday, the whole country draped itself in the national colors of blue and white as political and sporting rivalries were put aside and 45 million people celebrated their first World Cup success in 36 years.
But experts say the elation won’t last.
“What’s happening is that sport, and especially football in Argentina, has the ability to unite us through emotion, and that’s very important in terms of national symbolism,” he told AFP. sociologist Rodrigo Daskal.

“But that doesn’t mean it can be effectively transferable to other areas.”
In Sunday’s match, supporters of bitter city rivals such as Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, or Newell’s Old Boys of Rosario and Rosario Central, stood shoulder to shoulder in the thrilling and sometimes tortuous on penalties against France in Qatar.
“This passion and this unity will hopefully set an example for the future and make us realize that we are better together,” said full-back Nicolas Tagliafico.
The team’s success and their tangible solidarity created a sense of hope among some Argentines.
“It’s not about forgetting our problems, it’s about reminding us that we can unite, and when we are united we all pull in the same direction,” said Julio Berdun, 50, then that he was walking through the iconic Plaza Mayo in front of the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace with his family.

“We have to bridge this gap that divides us so much as a country,” he said, his face painted blue and white, wearing a curly wig and draped in the Argentine flag.
At the same time, there is skepticism and weariness that comes from decades of broken promises and shattered dreams.
“We are world champions, but nothing more. I have to go to work, everyone has to go to work. The situation will not change, it will be as always, except that in the sporting field we are world champions.” said architect Ricardo Grunfeld, 65.
What touched the fans was the emotional commitment of the players, epitomized by the genius of Messi, the joy of his teammates and the tears of coach Lionel Scaloni.
“This team plays for the people, for the Argentine fans, there is no individual ego, everyone plays for the team and for the country,” Scaloni said.

The political class is the polar opposite, and not just because of the contentious relationship between the Peronist government and the right-wing opposition.
The current administration has been beset by an ever-growing rift between President Alberto Fernandez and his vice president and former leader Cristina Kirchner.
“This competitive, efficient and humble team with good vibes contrasts with a political class that fights among itself and does not improve things in the country,” said political scientist Carlos Fara.
“Society is very tired of this divide. They feel it’s a political thing and an obstacle to development.”
But, he added, “I don’t see the political class thinking about that. Most likely, once the euphoria passes, things will be the same again.

“The economic problems are long-term and winning the World Cup does not alleviate them.”
The victorious team will celebrate with fans at the capital’s iconic Obelisk monument on Tuesday.
But there are no plans to meet the president or hold celebrations at the presidential palace.
“People think it’s a triumph for the national team and the people themselves, and it’s better for politics to stay out,” Fara said.
While Argentina’s footballing greatest hero, the late Diego Maradona – who led the country to World Cup triumph in 1986 – has expressed support for various left-wing Latin American causes, the current squad is apolitical.

“Maradona has entered politics but this team stays away,” said Lucrecia Airaldi, 50, who works in human resources.
“They carry the flag, they represent everyone. That’s what’s great”,
For many, the fact that no political force is trying to capitalize on the football team’s glory is in itself a victory.
“It’s a sporting achievement, it’s an example for all children,” said architect Grunfeld. “It’s essential.”


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