The calculation is simple – and a bit exaggerated -: around 2 million people They tried to access the ticket purchase site to watch the national team against Panama and no doubt each of them had 3 other friends, relatives or acquaintances to buy tickets for. It can therefore be assumed that around 8 million (2×4, counting) of Argentines dreamed of participating in the duel that will be played this Thursday at the Monumental stadium. It is also one of the most popular sporting events in the history of the country, a friendly match which has unleashed a real popular mobilization.
The images of Lionel Messi coming out of a well-known Palermo grill in the midst of a flood of people have gone around the world and speak of the passion of the Argentines and of the infatuation for Rosario. The popular fervor is also experienced by the rest of the members of the staggeredalbeit to a lesser extent than Flea, clear. Thousands and thousands of people flocked to Ezeiza’s property to ask for a photo, an autograph, a greeting or a look. The communion between the champions and the public is total.
And because of all the scalenetamania A couple of questions arise: How were the first times of the 1978 and 1986 champions in the country? Was the same passion experienced as now?
The meeting with the 1978 champions took place on Wednesday 25 April 1979 at the stadium Monumental and against Bulgaria. It was a 2-1 victory with goals from René Houseman and Daniel Passarella, from penalties. The cast directed by Menotti is made up of: Ubaldo Matildo Fillol; Jorge Mario Olguin, Hugo Eduardo Villaverde, Daniel Passarella, Jorge Alberto Garcia; Juan Alberto Barbas (José Luis Gaitán), Américo Rubén Gallego, Diego Maradona; René Orlando Houseman, José Omar Reinaldi, Oscar Alberto Ortiz (Hugo Osmar Perotti).
The country, of course, was going through the dark and sinister years of the last military dictatorship. The friendly against the Europeans took place as part of the “Trofeo 60° Anniversario El Gráfico”. The day before the match, the editor of the sports magazine, Constancia C. Vigil, and the president of the AFA, Julio Humberto Grondona, went to the Casa Rosada to formally invite the president Jorge Rafael Videla. In the photos of the newspapers of the time you can see everyone smiling.
Indeed, Videla was at the Monumental, where Guillermo Vilas and Juan Carlos Lectoure, among other personalities, also attended. Although 20,000 tickets remained unsold 24 hours before the match, the stadium seemed packed (70,000 spectators). The collection amounted to 600,000 dollars and the players did not show the World Cup. Videla was tasked with delivering the El Gráfico trophy to captain Daniel Passarella.
The most outstanding player of the friendly was Diego Armando Maradona, who was only 18 years old. “The World Cup marked the consecration of the ‘Kempes Era’ and now the ‘Maradona Era’ has been inaugurated”wrote the journalist Guillermo Gasparini in the magazine La Hoja. “Argentinians have exceptional value: Maradona. For me he is much better than Kempes” assured the coach of Bulgaria, Danko Roev.
Reception for 1986 champions Mexico was astounding – only 5,000 Argentines were in the stadium Monumental see the 1-0 defeat against Paraguay on June 20, 1987. Carlos Salvador Bilardo’s team formed by: Luis Alberto Islas; José Luis Cuciuffo (Hernán Edgardo Díaz), José Luis Brown, Oscar Ruggeri, Oscar Garré; Darío Siviski (Claudio Caniggia), Ricardo Giusti, Sergio Batista, Carlos Daniel Tapia; José Percudani (Oscar Alberto Dertycia) and Juan Gilberto Funes.
The organization of the friendly was a failure because the public turned away. It repeats itself: there were only 5,000 Argentines, to which were added another 5,000 Paraguayans. The match was for the benefit of unionized Argentine footballers. “We’ve lost money,” lamented the union’s treasurer, José Alberto Pérez, at the end of the day.
But why did people turn their backs on champions? Mainly due to the absence of Diego Armando Maradona. Until the end, there was speculation about his possibility of playing, even if Diez had just arrived in Buenos Aires the day before the duel, so he could only accompany his teammates and show the champion’s medal. Where was Diego? In La Rioja, shooting a spot for Japanese television; Also, he shared a barbecue with then-Governor Carlos Menem.
“The greatest discomfort was caused by the set-up. The almost bare grandstands resembled a devastating testimony. Because, we insisted, it was the day of reunion with the world champions. It would be clumsy, as always, to blame the public for the great absence without attempting an analysis of the phenomenon. We start from the assumption that the price of the seats will have something to do with it, higher than that of national competitions. And that the ratio of Maradona’s non-presence could have been great It is known that Diego, full of glory is a sporting element, it is an element of vocation in itself, but it seems to us that the main reason will have to be sought on the side of habit, this team has played very little in Argentina and it is very difficult to come to such a communication. get used to, with a sum of matches, but also with a credible football proposal for his needs and tastes.We must, therefore, take this painful verdict from yesterday into account. And try to flip it.wrote inside clarion the journalist Orazio Pagani.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.