It’s Friday Sunday again!

And man, there’s joy in the streets. The big news this week is that after some great effort, the National Football Team has made it to the World Cup semifinals, something we hadn’t seen in a long time. This is enough for all of us to feel like we’ve won already. And boy, prepare yourselves for what’s coming if Argentina becomes champion.

So let’s talk football – after all, that’s what you want – and send all the boring, buzz kill stuff all the way to the bottom.

That’s right. For the first time, and without any sarcasm (OK, maybe some sarcasm) I will dedicate these first paragraphs to the joy of football. My nemesis. The reason for my night terrors, who for years has been my antagonist in this column is finally getting the attention it deserves. Because as the old adage goes, in the face of an even stronger enemy (the vulture funds), the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I don’t know, that totally made sense inside my head, but now I realize it doesn’t. I’m gonna leave it up anyway because it sounds pretty.

This is what you need to know:

 

  • ARGENTINES REJOICE! For the first time in 24 years, Argentina has reached the semifinals in the World Cup and…- What’s that? I already said that? Yes, I’m aware, thank you very much. I’m trying to provide you with some context but if you’re bored we can totally skip this part and go all the way down to talk about the economy, the Vice-President and some other stuff you barely understand. No? You sure? Right. Didn’t think so. Shut up then.

 

  • For the first time since Italia ’90 and after defeating Belgium 1-0 yesterday,
    I tried to find a photo of the 1990 World Cup. This is all I could find. Ha! I suck. (Wikipedia)
    I tried to find a photo of the 1990 World Cup. This is all I could find. Ha! I suck. (Wikipedia)

    Argentina is now two games away from winning the World Cup. Of course, we still have to defeat the Netherlands on Wednesday and Germany or Brazil next weekend, but hey. Everything is possible, right? And while everyone keeps saying that the whole thing is rigged so that Brazil gets the cup (probably a way of coping with an eventual defeat) everyone’s eyes are gleaming with hope that for the first time in 28 years, 40 million people will come out to the street to celebrate that we’re number one. So just in case, go get your white and blue gear, because next Sunday could be one of the most epic, unforgettable Sundays of your life. And no, I’m not overreacting. Even if you’re a foreigner living in this country, you can be 100 percent certain that you will attend a nationwide party that you will end up describing to your children and grandchildren. Save the date.

 

  • So I’m obviously not going to talk about the game because I don’t even know what a penalty kick is and I don’t want to learn what it is either. But while it was a somewhat enjoyable match, I think it’s safe to say that it was coach Alejandro Sabella who won the Internet yesterday. When Gonzalo Higuain hit the bar against Belgium, Sabella reacted (or overreacted) by leaning back, almost like he was fainting. And then he lost his balance. Like this: 

 

 

  • That was when the Internet completely lost it because, let’s face it, it’s the Internet. Hence, the Sabella meme-fest was born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • And the meme to end all memes:

 

 

  • Oh, but the memes didn’t stop there. You see, this Wednesday Argentina will be playing against the Netherlands. And you know who’s Queen of the Netherlands? That’s right, Queen Máxima. Do you know where Queen Maxima is from? If you said Argentina, you are correct! Although you probably knew that already so you get no points this time. Yeah, so Queen Máxima, who became queen last year, is in an awkward position. If she roots for the Netherlands, Argentines will hate her. If she roots for Argentina, the Dutch will hate her. And why shouldn’t they? It’s football, after all. Where racist, homophobic, xenophobic and hate-spewing chants are somewhat frowned upon but that’s all. When you chant that “the Brazilians are all faggots” you’re trying to offend the Brazilians, not the gay community, right? Right, gay community? Come on, now! But I digress. I believe that since Máxima is queen, her support for a specific group, cause or team is a matter of national interest so she should follow Pope Francis’ example and just recuse herself from the whole thing by saying all she cares about is to see people having fun or something. In the meantime, the memes are already out there.

 

 

  • Oh, and this totally feels like old news by now, but before Argentina defeated Belgium, there was a match against Switzerland, and there are two things I’d like to highlight from it. One: sportscaster Alejandro Fantino is still trying to win a place in the Hall of Memorable Goal Celebrations and in my opinion continues to fail miserably. Thought this was bad? Listen to this.

 

 

  • And second, there was this back and forth on Twitter between Roger Federer and Juan Martín del Potro during the game, which I thought was pretty cool. See? You can poke fun at each other without calling yourselves names. Defeat is already humiliating enough. Also, bromance.

 

 

  • Alright, moving on to the less important stuff now. Like the vulture funds. Yes, that thing is still going on, believe it or not. So what happened this week? Not much, really. Mainly, Argentina sent a legal notice to the Bank of New York urging it to pay the bondholders with the money deposit that the country made last week, although the bank has been ordered not to by District Judge Thomas Griesa. Argentina is scheduled to meet with the negotiator appointed by Griesa to see if they can move forward with the discussions, although apparently Argentina’s strategy is to first pay the bondholders and then move forward with the negotiations with the so-called vulture funds.

 

  • In the meantime, this week Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof flew to Washington DC to brief the Organization of American States on the grave dangers that will result from Griesa’s ruling and the Government is even hinting that they may even take the case to the Interional Court of Justice, which means that Argentina is planning to sue the United States. The administration considers that the US Supreme Court represents the US government, so suing for an adverse ruling makes sense. After the hearing before the OAS, the organization issued a declaration of support for Argentina’s position (although the US and Canada abstained from voting).

 

  • So, that weird ad you saw during the halftime of the Argentina vs. Belgium match, with the somber music and the ominous filter? That’s what it was.

 

 

 

 

  • Last but not least: common sense has prevailed. On Monday, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that the National Government was ready to offer two sculptures of former presidents Hipólito Yrigoyen and Juan Domingo Perón to the City Government as a gift. The President unveiled a scale model of the sculptures, which would be located one on each side of the Plaza de la República (that’s where the Obelisco is) “symbolizing the protection of the many social achievements of the 20th century.” Great idea! And it’s not even politically biased since Perón was a Peronist and Yrigoyen was a Radical. The problem? Those sculptures look like two horrible giant tombstones. Let alone the fact that the faces of Perón and Yrigoyen look like they’ve been drawn by Matt Groening.

 

 

  • Fortunately for all of us, the City Legislature said “thanks but no thanks” and politely rejected the gift explaining that “there’s already a Perón sculpture in the works” and it’s going to be located somewhere else. Phew.

 

Have a great weekend, kids.