First off, I have to say that being in a Latin American country during the World Cup an experience. Excited onlookers crowding into bars and cafes, huddled around tiny 8 inch TVs in little kiosks, cheering if only for their love of the sport. And this is in a country that didn’t even make it into the tourney. I was shocked to see Colombians getting excited over a match between Japan and Cameroon, just because it’s World Cup Soccer.
Today’s Colombian paper featured a headline reading: “Al minuto 91, E.U. cumplió sueño Americano” (at 91st minute the U.S. completes an American Dream). I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it as I sat in a sports bar anxiously stabbing the remains of an “americano” omelette. Perhaps most suprising were the pack of Colombians supporting the U.S. team around me, sharing my frustration and subsequent joy when Landon Donovan propelled Team USA to victory.
I was a little surprised to see so many Colombians representing the Red White and Blue, but you can attribute that to the good relations between our two countries and the amount of Colombians that have lived in and visited the U.S. It will be interesting to see how many turn up to support against Ghana come Saturday as well as which side they choose in the Argentina/Mexico battle to follow. My prediction is that the less-than-savory sentiment held for Argentines throughout most of Latin America will have many Colombian’s rooting against Maradona’s squad. As for me, Argentina is like my 2nd team so of course, I’ll be there, wearing blue and cheering the Abiceleste on to victory; of course after assuring that our boys make it through to the next round.