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From my window

by Mercedes Moresco

Argentina champion

This end of the year, we Argentines had a reason to celebrate that, in an almost magical way, unites us. In a country divided by a political and already cultural rift, the soccer world cup, led by twenty-six players who today are extolled as heroes of the country, has achieved what seemed impossible: unite everyone in the same cry of euphoria. : Argentina champion!
He was twelve years old when Argentina came out champion for the first time, in '78, with Mario Kempes and his eighties hair, celebrating the goals at the top of their lungs on a pitch overshadowed by the military dictatorship. That was my first World Cup experience, when the matches were seen in black and white or heard on the radio. But the flags, the jumps, the songs of the fans and the crowds at the obelisk did not change.
Then came '86 and Maradona, the football festival again and passion filling all hearts, this time released in a democratic Argentina that looked at the past with pain and a desire for justice. Diego elevated the already grown Argentine pride to celestial spheres, where he was called god, and all excesses and extravagances were forgiven as long as he saw him play soccer. But his reign was short and he had a tragic end in the '90s, when he tested positive in the World Cup in the United States, in the match against Greece. - "They cut off my legs" - declared the soccer player while millions of Argentines wept over the unjust misfortune.
When we all sadly watched the decline of an idol, a kid who played for Barça appeared and who seemed to be a phenomenon, similar to Diego, or not, better than Diego?, a kid named Lionel who broke all records there in Spain, but he was from Rosario, Argentina, and drank mate. 
Hope returned. When he made his debut in the  Germany 2006 World Cup, Messi was 18 years old. And Argentina knew that another phenomenon had been born, a new soccer star, worthy of everyone's admiration. 
But eighteen years passed and luck, or destiny, was not on the Argentine side. Yes, because in addition to talent, effort, training and will, to win a World Cup you need something else. Finally, in December 2022, the stars aligned: Argentina is today champion. 
If there is something that represents us, it brings out the patriotic feeling of Argentines, it is soccer, whether we like it or not. For an Argentine, a match is not just another game. It is rather a matter of life and death. It is your religion. It is your homeland. And although it sounds a bit sad and even embarrassing that some boys running after a ball arouse more admiration than San Martín crossing the Andes or Belgrano creating the flag we fly today, the truth is that soccer is the homeland of Argentines. The meeting place.  Why? Because people need contemporary heroes. We need leaders who can give us an example, show us a path, make us laugh and cry, in the here and now.
These guys who put on the Argentine shirt in Qatar and took it to heaven, deserve all my respect and admiration, and along with mine that of all Argentines. That is why we went out to celebrate, wherever there are Argentines, the victory was noted. From the crowds at the obelisk, a human tide that had to be seen to be believed, to small groups in Antarctica, thousands of people in Bangladesh, not to mention the celebrations in Qatar and the rest of the world. Social networks gave proof of the World Cup euphoria that infected many others who are not Argentines but celebrated as one more. Because it's true, the passion for soccer is contagious. 
At my house we watched the games with Mexicans, Colombians, Venezuelans and Americans. All with the albiceleste shirt on, all suffering the ups and downs of each game, screaming until we ran out of voice. Because football is like that, an unpredictable game where nothing is said until the referee blows the last whistle. And you live and suffer from the beginning to the end with an emotion that makes your heart vibrate. It makes you feel alive. I learned it as a girl, when my uncle took me wrapped in light blue and white flags through the streets of Buenos Aires to jump and dance because we were, because we are, the world champions.

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