The FIFA World Cup is an incredible event that occurs once every four years, allowing people from all over the world to unite under the name of sport. As the most watched sporting event in the world, the World Cup has high demands for tickets as well. The summer 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil set records for requested tickets—11 million requests for 3.1 million tickets. The odds of getting these tickets were a slim 28 percent, so when I was notified in February that my request for a World Cup ticket to watch Argentina vs. Nigeria was processed, I freaked out and told everyone I knew that I was going to Brazil.
I was studying abroad in Argentina that spring, so I was able to get to the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil easily. I was not only excited that I was going to watch a World Cup game, but more importantly, I was excited to watch Argentina play.
I’ve been an Argentina soccer fan my whole life. Before I get called a bandwagon or un-patriotic, my father was raised in Argentina. Growing up, I always had a blue and white jersey in my closet.
Game day was June 25. I walked to the game feeling as excited as Brick Tamland with a new lamp. I dressed down for the occasion—I only wore my Argentina jersey, Argentina shorts and Argentina sweatshirt. I left my Argentina underwear and socks at home.
Porto Alegre is the closest host World Cup city to Argentina, so there were tons of Argentinians around. My excitement was building as I walked shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Argentina fans. The adrenaline finally hit me hard as I was walking through the tunnel to find my seat. I heard the familiar songs of the Argentinian supporters such as “Vamos vamos Argentina” and “Brasil decime que se siente.” Our shouting got even louder as the World Cup teams walked out of the gate, with World Player of the Year Lionel Messi leading the walkout.
As the game went underway, it was evident that we were in for an exciting game. Messi smashed home a rebound three minutes into the game. The largely-Argentinean crowd went nuts. Beer splashed everywhere, screaming ensued and strangers hugged. Nigeria equalized a minute later but that didn’t quell the excitement. Argentina was rewarded a free kick outside of the penalty box in the 45th minute, with everyone holding their breath in anticipation of something great.
As Messi lined himself up for the kick, the crowd held its collective breath. Two minutes earlier, he barely missed a similar chance––the crowd knew that he just couldn’t disappoint this time around. They were right. Messi expertly curved the ball to the right side of the net, with Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama frozen in place. Mass hysteria ensued.
The game ended with a 3-2 score, but the game was a lot more than just numbers for me. I was able to watch the eventual World Cup finalists, my hero Messi and I was able to have an experience I may never have again in my life. I have yet to stop telling people about my experience and I think that when I’m an old man, my grandkids will be tired of me telling them about the time I went to watch Argentina at the World Cup.