- Full name: Argentine Republic
- Capital: Buenos Aires
- 8th largest country in the world (2,767,000,000 km²)
- Largest cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba
- Population: 39.9 Mio
- Growth rate: 0.979%
- Age expectancy: 76.6 years
- Languages: Spanish
- Ethnic Mix: black White (97%), Other (3%)
Did you know that Argentina means silver? Quite a name, don’t you think? Like all Latin American countries it has seen a moving past on its way to today’s situation.
Argentine culture has significant European influences. Buenos Aires, its cultural capital, is largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of European styles in architecture. The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions (like yerba mate infusions) have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu.
The official national sport of Argentina is pato, played with a six-handle ball on horseback, but the most popular sport is association football. The national football team has won 25 major international titles including two FIFA World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and fourteen Copa Américas. Over one thousand Argentine players play abroad, the majority of them in European football leagues. There are 331,811 registered football players, with increasing numbers of girls and women, who have organized their own national championships since 1991 and were South American champions in 2006.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest national football association in the world. The 1891 league tournament in Argentina was the third in football history, after England and the Netherlands. The AFA today counts 3,377 football clubs, including 20 in the Premier Division. Since the AFA went professional in 1931, fifteen teams have won national tournament titles, including River Plate with 33 and Boca Juniors with 24.
Many of their players play in Europe, e.g. Lionel Messi who was named World Soccer Player of 2009.
In 2006, the National Team could only be stopped in the Quarter Finals after a very intense battle with the German National team. Just some weeks ago they took “revenge” beating the German team in a test match. I’d say that they are a strong as ever, but not in the inner circle of teams competing for the Cup. One advantage they have (though not a very positive one) is there variety of manipulations regarding fouls – no they don’t have a reputation for their fair-play.
Here’s a picture of their national team: