Hello fellow Mundo Albiceleste posters. My name is Maru (short for Maria Eugenia if anyone was wondering) and I'm honored to have been asked to contribute some of my opinions and ideas on the Fan Post section, I hope I will do it justice.
I will start by making a small introduction about my background regarding our National Team, because I think it's really important when someone gives an opinion to understand where that person is coming from. I was born in Argentina just as 1990 was starting, so I am 21 years old. This information is crucial to understanding that I was not alive during the glory days for our national football. I have never had the privilege of watching us win anything (at least with our senior team), I have of course celebrated a few wins here and there, I have been proud of our football, and I have screamed and cheered as much as the next person, but I think I went through more suffering than happiness when regarding our team.
I was born in Buenos Aires and still live there right now, like you average next-door Argentinean family mine loves football and loves seeing Argentina win as much as the next person, but they are not as passionate about it, so I can't say that's where I got my love for it. My love started in 1998 during that France World Cup. I was eight years old and and I wasn't really into football or any sports for that matter- that was for guys (boy, was I wrong). With that World Cup, however, things changed. My story is funny, because my love for football started actually when I wasn't even watching a game. I remember it was the quarter final game against the Netherlands and I was in the middle of school. Nowadays, kids here are allowed to watch the match in school during World Cup season, and classes are suspended, but at that time we weren't so lucky. We were in class, studying who-knows-what, at the exact moment that Argentina was playing against Netherlands. The thing is, our classroom window led to someone's balcony, and through it you could see that someone's living room and of course they were watching the game. Our whole class stopped doing whatever it is we were doing, and we were all just looking outside the window into the guy's TV.
I remember that match ended 2-1 and we lost (*tears*). But I will never forget that in the first half, just after Netherlands had scored their first goal, we scored our only goal of the match and tied the game. The TV guy came out to the balcony screaming and our classroom exploded. I remember we all started cheering and everyone started dancing on the tables! My school WAS NOT laid back so it was a big deal that there were children standing on the tables, throwing papers and books everywhere and the teacher wasn't saying anything, in fact she was just cheering along with us.
That's the moment I started loving football, the moment it became much more than just a sport, I became emotionally involved with it and with our national team.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy watching the NT "live" a few times... One that comes to mind right now, is with our U20 team. I was living in Toronto during the 2007 U20 World Cup when it happened, so I went to watch the game against Chile. I remember I sat on the stands, the game had started when I got there, and nobody was screaming, at least where I was sitting. Of course I stood up and announced to everyone that, "this isn't right", when it seemed like nobody was paying attention to me I stood up and said "Why doesn't anyone sing here?". Of course I started the popular "Ole, Ole" right after that, a few people joined in, others looked at me like I was psycho, and others came to show their support at half time. Of course they knew you can't NOT scream in a soccer game, especially if Argentina is playing, and if I'm there I just won't allow it. Oh, after the game I got chased by a Chilean lady, I remember they were really mad they had lost, and this woman was looking at me with evil eyes, I went up to her (football makes me crazy) and said "don't worry, this just wasn't your time". She was furious and started chasing me around the parking lot!!! It's ok, after I got over the fact that a grown woman was chasing after me screaming I realized -- football makes sane people do crazy things.
If I had to say something about myself regarding the NT today, is that I'm a big Lionel Messi fan, and not just because he plays amazing football, it's also because of what he represents for our country. Actually, not only watching him play, but also hearing him speak makes me like Argentina (my own country) even more. So I have become an active defender of Lionel Messi in this country where he is constantly being put down. He is criticized for whatever he does and for whatever he doesn't do, but I think the reality behind it is that people just can't forgive the fact that most of Messi's achievements were with a non-argentinean club, he didn't play for River or for Boca, while for example-- Maradona's achievements were mostly with our national team. In a country where football means so much more than just the sport, I like Messi for what he represents for Argentina. A few years ago an article came out which described Maradona as a metaphor for Argentina, it created huge controversy but I agreed with it. In turn, in Messi I see a very down to earth guy, a promising future of a happy Argentina in good terms with everyone and everything, generous without showing off, a country where we win when we can and when we can't we don't point the finger to everyone else shoving blaming off our shoulders. So that's why I defend Messi when people criticize him for non-football issues like not singing the anthem or for his personality. In regards to football he barely needs any defending because his actions in the field speak for themselves.