HARLINGEN, Texas – It is not often the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service gets a chance to cover sport. However, because one of our top contacts, Valley International Airport director Nicolás J. Mirman is Argentinian, we found a good excuse – a review of his country’s incredible World Cup success at the weekend.

It was incredible not because winning World Cups is new to Argentina – the country has won the tournament twice before. But it was incredible because of Sunday’s final against France. According to many experts, it has to go down as the most dramatic and exciting World Cup final ever. Argentina defeated France on penalties after the game was tied 3-3 at the end of extra time.

And there was an incredible story line to go with it as Argentina’s captain and talisman, Lionel Messi, regarded by many as the best soccer player of all time, finally claimed his first World Cup winner’s medal. With Messi now 35 years old and the World Cup only coming around every four years it was surely his last chance to do so. 

“It was so exciting. We did not know until the last penalty goal if we were going to win or not,” said Mirman.

This reporter was pleased to be given the assignment because, as was explained to Mirman, after Argentina first won its first World Cup, in 1978 (Mirman was just one year old at the time), two of its star players, Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, were transferred to the reporter’s favorite club, London-based Tottenham Hotspur. They had great careers at Spurs, with Villa scoring arguably the best goal ever in an FA Cup final. Fantastic memories. Not only that, Tottenham also had a very popular Argentinian manager a few years ago, Mauricio Pochettino. His team won plaudits for playing exciting, attacking, football. 

Mirman first came to the United States as an exchange student. He then came back to study at university. He has lived in the country for 20-odd years and now likes American football just as much as soccer. He is not the only Argentinian in the Rio Grande Valley and often meets up with some of his compatriots in Brownsville. 

In this video, Mirman describes Argentina’s path to World Cup glory, including that ignominious defeat by Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament. He comments on the wild celebrations that are still going on in his home country. And, in a piece of social commentary, says he hopes the unity created through the whole of Argentina getting behind its soccer team will continue into the world of politics so that the divisions that have held the country back for decades will subside. Oh, and he also weighs in on that burning question: who was the greatest player of all time, Maradona or Messi?

Editor’s Note: A big thank you to nine-year-old Josie Ramirez for stepping in and doing the camera work when our camera stabilizer malfunctioned. 

Video


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