World Cup – Argentina – Netherlands: How does Argentina manage to create such an atmosphere in the stadiums?

Even the Dutch press eventually gave up trying to find an exact figure. The observation is clear to her: the Orange Army, never the last when it comes to supporting its national teams, has already lost the war before Friday. In the stands of the Lusail stadium, NOS had pushed forward the figure of 30,000 Argentinian fans for this quarterfinal. According to the count, it should be around 50,000 Telegraph. Despite last-minute reinforcements, the number of Dutchmen should be 1400.

A habit at this World Cup. According to the Argentine embassy in Qatar, 30,000 to 40,000 Argentine supporters made the journey to support the Albiceleste in the quest it has begun: to offer Lionel Messi a World Cup. “It’s absolutely crazy what’s going on around this teamsays Nicolás Migliavacca, journalist at Olé. But it’s not just the fans in Qatar: after the win against Australia, there was a rally near the Obelisk, the place where big wins are usually celebrated.“.

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A huge crowd under the Obelisk in Buenos Aires after qualifying for the quarterfinals

Credits: Getty Images

81% audience share in Argentina

There is no boycott there. Against Mexico, the broadcaster’s audience share was 81%, an all-time record in this football country. In the middle of summer, Argentina is therefore passionate about the future of its Albiceleste. And some, despite the country’s dire economic difficulties, decided to take the plunge to join Qatar, just to keep up the tradition of a national team, as was already the case in Russia, South Africa but especially in Brazil.

The first explanation for the deafening atmosphere in the Qatari stadiums when Argentina’s first turn comes from there, from this almost disproportionate love for the Albiceleste. It was enough to see the contrast between the former glory of Brazil and Argentina in the round of 16 to also understand the essence of supporterism in Argentina.

While the Rivaldo quartet, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Ronaldo were having a good time in the stands while the Seleçao sauntered against South Korea, Kun Agüero, Batistuta, Sorín, Cambiasso, Zanetti or Crespo had long since dropped their coats and their seats left to sing and dance in support of their own. In 2018, the presence of Diego Maradona in Russia had also reinforced the idea that in the World Cup it is the holy union behind the Albiceleste.

“The enigma” that is not one

But these ‘normal’ supporters are just the tip of the iceberg. Because Argentina understood behind the scenes that the frenzied atmosphere heard in Qatar also stemmed from the presence of certain barras bravas. These groups of local supporters, institutionalized in Argentina, are part of the identity of Argentine fervor. So in Qatar, when the boat started rocking, they crashed.
That’s always been the caserembobine Matthieu, partner of Boca Juniors and attentive follower of the subject. The barras have always managed to live together at the events related to the selection. Lately we have seen them a little less, especially since many of them are not allowed to enter the stadiums but also the territory. This was the case in Qatar, as the Argentine government gave the names of some to the Qatari authorities“.

Argentina hinchas against Australia

Credits: Getty Images

A list of 6,475 names was actually sent to Qatar. Don’t worry, some of these names were able to land in Doha without any problems to organize the Argentinian stands, thus boosting the volume a bit more. Tyc Sports has identified nearly 100 supporters who have been theoretically banned from the stadium, but are present at the game against Mexico. The subject is mentioned in the Argentine press, but still seems stubborn when it comes to finding a rational explanation, or rather, publicly indulgent: “the riddle of the bans in Qatar who managed to enter despite everythingTN Sports titled a very complete article on this subject.

Maybe the federation did a good job of getting them there

Those who managed to enter the stadium should not have been allowed to enter it. We have numbers proving they arrived scattered but all agreed to come just short of targets in the final game“, explains a source of the Argentine Interior Ministry to the media. That is why you may have seen drums in the colors of Boca or the coats of arms of Club Atletico de Vélez between the Argentine blue and white jerseys.

It is a very hierarchical system, divided by lineexplains Matthijs. The frontline is the most prestigious etc. A frontline barra is someone who can be invited to the wedding of a politician, a football player. He’s almost a minister. These were banned in Qatar. But there are still some in the second or third line. We have seen many who have arrived in Qatar. If they are there, the federation may have taken the necessary steps to get them there“.

Argentina hinchas against Australia

Credits: Getty Images

The surprise would not be so much that the ties between politicians and barras are commonplace in Argentina. At the head of the Argentine federation, a state within a state, Claudio Tapia has always maintained an ambivalent relationship with the barras bravas. The current president of the AFA has only followed the model: Mauricio Macri, former president of Boca Juniors who became president of the Republic, had more than cordial relations with the “Doce”, emblematic barra, which receives income through the various sales of the club but even manages the Bombonera car parks.

Tapia had done nothing else in 2017, as Argentina played a final game at the Bombonera under various tensions to validate their ticket to Russia. 4,000 seats allocated to the federation had been given to the chefs of the “Doce”, only to ensure an atmosphere worthy of a great Argentine evening. Has the match ticket pump been activated again? This is a hypothesis still awaiting official confirmation, which may never come. After all, in Argentina, to allow Messi to lift the Grail, we are no longer one concession away…

To delve further into the subject of barras bravas, listen to the analysis of our specialist Thomas Goubin in our podcast “Tour d’Europe”

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