Even though Argentina’s economy is declining, the country as a whole is buoyant as a result of its football team’s victory in the World Cup final under the leadership of legendary captain Lionel Messi.
At least for the time being, it appears that the Argentines have forgotten their problems thanks to their dream of winning its third world title, 36 years after the previous one. Not only do Messi and his teammates want to put a third championship star on the team’s blue and white jersey, but that number three also seems important today.
Sporting glory comes at a time when many people believe that the South American nation’s economy will suffer from inflation that will barely be believable at triple digits in 2022.
The price index for November, which was released on Thursday by the INDEC statistics institute and was around 6%, suggests that inflation, which has already reached 88 percent over the past year, is not slowing down.
For decades, Argentina has had inflation in the double digits
However, there is a genuine belief that Messi’s magic and soccer success can alleviate the suffering of millions in a nation where poverty is above 40%.
Kelly Olmos, the labor minister in Argentina, was even asked if it was more important to lower inflation than to win the World Cup before it started in Qatar.
She stated, “We must work against inflation constantly, but one month won’t make a big difference.“
Olmos continued, “On the other hand, from a moral point of view, given what it means for all Argentines, we want Argentina to be champions.” The people of Argentina really need some happiness.”
As was to be expected, that led to a torrent of criticism.
A relief despite the fact that thousands of Argentines gather in droves in front of televisions to watch the team play, whether in homes, bars, or even a “fan zone” in Buenos Aires.
In a nation where the average wage is a pitiful 66,500 pesos ($390), the majority of these fans would never dream of paying for a ticket to Qatar.
Lucrecia Presdiger, a 38-year-old hospital worker, told AFP following Argentina’s quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands, “People are well aware of the problems,” but football and the economic situation “are on parallel paths, they don’t meet.”
However, they do not take it literally because they are aware that it is only football and that there are issues, Presdiger stated, adding, They shouldn’t be taken seriously by you.
A victory for Argentina would be “a relief, a breath of fresh air, a joy, even momentary — and we deserve it,” according to designer Tony Molfese.
Olmos drew matches with Argentina’s most memorable World Cup outcome in 1978 when the nation was controlled by a tactical dictatorship.
“Transient and eternal”
According to writer Ariel Scher, despite the intense emotions football evokes, it is still merely a game.
According to Scher, a university lecturer and football specialist, “Football bestows individual and collective joy, but that joy is transient and does not eliminate the other problems of existence.”
Scher added, “it gives us the possibility of a happiness that is both transient and eternal.” This is football’s strength.
More than three-quarters of Argentines polled in November predicted that people’s morale would be affected by the country’s performance at the World Cup.
Even more than 32% stated that they believed the outcome would have an impact on the subsequent presidential election in ten months.
Raul Aragon, a political scientist, laughed at this idea.
Whatever transpires in Sunday’s concluding episode, “the social mood will return to what it was before.” Additionally, no political force was able to profit from any eventual victory.”