Messi, as Always Expected, Rescues Argentina

“Lionel Messi is often the smallest player on the field. But it is clear that he possesses his own gravitational pull. Just look at how opposing players — entire teams — drift toward him, one after another, and impulsively flinch at his every step and feint. Look at how magnetically he draws a crowd’s collective gaze, how hushed with expectation a building can become whenever he makes a run. Look at how quickly the ball zips its way back to his feet whenever his team feels the slightest bit of anxiety. Messi’s stature, already large, has grown considerably in this World Cup, and it grew somehow bigger still Tuesday as he inspired Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Arena Corinthians.” NY Times

The Dilemma of Broadcasts: Univision, ESPN, and the Radio
“For this bilingual World Cup enthusiast, the beginning of each game requires a decision: watch the broadcast in English on ESPN (or sometimes on ABC), or in Spanish on Univision. I thought at first that what would make me choose one over the other would be a momentary preference for the agitation and drama associated with the Spanish broadcast or the calmness and restraint of the English broadcast. But later I realized it wasn’t that simple, that my choice was governed by darker motives that had to do with memory and the radio. I realized that the difference between the two broadcasts has to do not only with the languages they use but also in their tolerances for silence.” New Republic

It’s Time for Argentines to Get Behind Their Team
“The Albiceleste won all three first round games, but that hasn’t kept its demanding supporters from complaining. From one Che to another: Shut up and enjoy the team! As Argentina readies for its second-round game against Switzerland, its fans are getting, well, tense. Is Argentina playing to its full potential? No, it is not. Is it the worst team at the World Cup? No, far from it. Yes, many of us have been frustrated by the performance of our team at this World Cup, despite its perfect record in the first round. Alejandro Sabella’s men have been static and even boring at times with neither Sergio Aguero nor Gonzalo Higuaín up to their usual standards.” Fusion

Argentine Fans Feel Right at Home
“Tens of thousands of soccer fans came from all parts of Argentina. It does not matter that there were no tickets left for the match. This seemed an irrelevance. The main thing was to have been here, and to have witnessed Argentina take on Switzerland. In a sliver of park overshadowed by the modern office buildings of downtown São Paulo, FIFA has installed large screens for those without tickets. The fans know that tickets were going for between $2,000 and $3,000. Not that there were any for sale. Those who had come from the Arena Corinthians complain that there are only buyers and no sellers. Even two hours before the match started, the Argentines appeared en masse with their flags of light blue and white. The stripped albiceleste shirts are ubiquitous; even children in strollers were wearing them. The drinking started early. One fan, while being frisked at the turnstile, shouted: ‘Today, we’re all brothers. Boca-River, it doesn’t matter.’ He was referring to the rival clubs River Plate and Boca Juniors.” NY Times


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