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Match Between Argentina And England Is Not Just Match But War

Match Between Argentina And England Is Not Just Match But War

Posted June. 07, 2002 23:46,   


There is a theory that sports started from a war. Sports have served as an alternative to a war that kills each other. A football match between Argentina and England supports this theory.

"A match with England is not a game any more", said Argentina`s daily paper LA NACION.

The two countries have matched two times in the World Cup Games since the 1982 Falkland War (called as Malvinas by Argentina people). In the 10-week long war, England won by killing some 700 Argentina people compared to its 200 victims, but in the World Cup Games, Argentina all won.

"We win under the guard of a God", said a tour agency in Argentina.

"We will revenge on Argentina", said England soccer team`s representative player Teddy Sherringham.

The two nations` streets were all empty before the game held in Sapporo, Japan on 7th. English people all rushed to a bar to watch the game on TV. Some companies rented a hotel conference room to watch the game all together. England`s one of supermarket chains Safeway told that its mouth-cleaning beverage sales increased by 25 percent than usual. Many office workers who sneaked out to watch the game had to use the product not to reveal their watching the game and drinking beers. England`s corporate owners expected that some one third of their employees would not come to work with an excuse of being sick.

Argentina`s two states where the game started at 8:30 a.m. announced an official vacation for the game. A TV was set up in an auditorium room of elementary, middle and high schools. A teacher said, "There would no such educational material as this game." Some 1200 policemen were placed around the English Ambassodor to Buenos Aires and English corporations. Since 1962, the two teams won twice and lost twice. In 1962`s World Cup match held in Chile, England won Argentina by three to one. Until

that time, there were no reports about angry Argentina people for losing the game. The two teams` conflicts started in 1966 when Argentina`s team leader resisted an umpire`s order to leave the ground for ten minutes making the English team furious.

After the game, English players refused to exchange uniforms denouncing Argentina players as "animals." In 1986`s Mexico World Cup match, Diego Maradona emerged as a new soccer star, but England could not admit its defeat. Maradona scored the first goal by touching a ball, but the umpire did not see it and Argentina won England by two to one.

After that, the two teams did not have a chance to meet at the World Cup Games. They finally met again in 1998`s France World Cup round of 16. After a fierce battle, Argentina won England by four to three. At that time, one of English players Beckham said, "It was humiliating". And he still remembers that well.

DPA News reported that he answered "Yes" to a question if he would use any tricks to win Argentina at a press conference before the game. It was not clear whether he would run on the ground this time because his left foot was broken by one of

Argentina`s players in April`s European Championship League. As if reflecting England`s anti-Argentina sentiments, Argentina

-made wine sales in England decreased by 16 percent. As the two nations` interests in the match rise, a total of 14.5 million dollars were on a single betting. Argentina`s soccer hero Maradona laughed at England`s determination win the match saying, "This match will show well how much English people are scared of Argentina." Argentina`s goalkeeper said, "All Argentina people, especially those who lost their friends and family in 1982 waited so long for this game." The match is just like a war.

Hong Eun-taek

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com