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World champion Argentina: 47 million – united for a moment


Football is a religion in Argentina. The World Cup success caused violent emotional outbursts - and distracted people from the misery in the country for a short time.

They hug each other and cry.

For half a minute, Mariano Martínez and Brian Zalazar hug each other.

Then they wipe the tears from their eyes and start laughing.

"We're world champions, damn it!" they yell in each other's faces.

Another hug.

The two men have come downtown from the outskirts of Buenos Aires to watch the final match between Argentina and France and then celebrate with the crowd.

Tjerk Bruhwiller

Correspondent for Latin America based in São Paulo.

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There's no more room in the restaurants and bars, so they've set up shop in front of a local store where the game is playing on a TV.

Here she and four dozen other Argentines join the growing crowd to relive the story of that incredible final, this December 18th that will forever be remembered by them and all Argentines.

Twice they die that day, twice they rise again.

And in the end they will be redeemed.

There's no holding back, just the title and the tears.

Minutes after the decisive penalty, millions of Argentines took to the streets across the country to celebrate their third world title in history.

A blue and white sea of ​​people grows around the obelisk in Buenos Aires, which only subsides again in the early hours of the morning.

Everyone savors the moment as intensively as possible.

Argentina has been waiting for a world title since 1986.

That's a long time for a country that defines itself so strongly through football.

"Nobody wanted this title like Argentina," believes Martínez.

He doesn't just mean the team, but the people, he explains, referring to the Argentine fan groups who flew to Qatar in their tens of thousands and were present in the stadiums throughout the World Cup.

Argentinian football clubs and fan clubs have also helped.

Other fans have traveled there without help.

Quite a few have spent all their savings on it.

In Argentina itself, football fever had gripped the masses even before the World Cup.

At times, for example, there was a lack of decals for the scrapbooks.

The children were queuing in front of the kiosks when new deliveries came.

This fanaticism is only understandable when one understands the importance of football in the lives of Argentines.

The cultural relevance of football in Argentina cannot be equated with other countries.

Even in football-mad Latin America, there is more or less agreement among experts that in no other country does football play a more important role, according to anthropologists it is more important than religion, although the two areas often merge.

There is even a "Maradona Church" in Argentina dedicated to the legend who died two years ago.

A large proportion of Argentines identify themselves through football, through their club.

Every four years this fanaticism merges into a great unity and collective devotion in which all borders,

Can society heal thanks to the title?

Many Argentines don't know how to make it to the end of the month with their income.

The country is in a deep economic crisis.

The annual control is scratching the 100 percent mark.

In the four weeks of the World Cup, most products have already become a few percent more expensive.

Unemployment is worrying, the poverty rate is forty percent, millions of families are completely dependent on government aid payments and even these are often not enough.

In the outskirts of Buenos Aires, misery and hunger are spreading.

The problems with violence and drugs are increasing.

Source: faz

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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