‘Grandma la la la!’ Maria Cristina Mariscotti Argentina World Cup cabal
but like this footballThough a maddened country prays for a victory in Sunday’s final against France, Mariscotti has become something of a national good luck charm: the masked, bespectacled face of millions of fans who dream of soccer glory.
“She’s the lucky one. grandmotherher neighbor, Ariel Altamiranda, 46, said, using the Spanish word for grandmother. “This is more the Grandma’s World Cup than Messi’s.”
Mariscotti honors the national obsession by listening from inside his home, the same one in which he has lived for most of his life, to the whoops and cheers that erupt after each victory. He then emerges, carrying the Argentine flag, to join a group of shirtless youths who are jumping and singing in the streets.
These impromptu neighborhood celebrations have made her a viral sensation, drawing ever-growing crowds to her normally quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of town. with each successive victory.
when the Albiceleste beat Croatia in the semifinals this week, hundreds if not thousands descended to join the now inescapable chant of the boys: “Grandma la la la la la la.”
“I’m not even a grandmother. I don’t have grandchildren. I am an aunt,” Mariscotti said at the door of his house on Thursday afternoon. “But I kept going out to join them, and even though I was the only woman, those guys adopted me as their own.”
Apparently, so has the rest of the country: radio hosts have spent hours analyzing his fame. Memes featuring his face have appeared in prime-time news. And apparently everyone agrees that their post-game party with the Argentine flag is the ultimate “cabala,” a superstitious rite that’s supposed to help lead the national team to victory.
“It was totally unexpected. You run into an elderly person during the celebrations and they are the happiest person in the world,” said Octavio Ruggiero, 29, whose TikTok videos of Mariscotti have amassed more than 4 million views. “She always came to get us after every game, and that became our lucky charm.”
Argentine confidence in cabals — the word derives from Hebrew “Kabbalah” – underscores the intensity and anxiety with which many here watch their national team: Mariscotti’s neighbors talked about putting dogs on their dining room tables while they watch games or scheduling their showers to end right at the beginning.
For Ruggiero and his friends, who call themselves “los Pibes de Luro” after the neighborhood soccer club where they met as children, cheering on their adoptive grandmother after a win has been a sure-fire formula for victory. .
It started like this: Ruggiero met his friends at Altamiranda’s house to watch Argentina play Poland in a group stage match.
They roasted beef for a roast and leaving the front door open so the neighbors could come through. After a humiliating defeat against Saudi Arabia, the selection he needed a win to guarantee a place in the round of 16.
As Argentina cruised to a 2-0 victory, Ruggiero and his friends came out of the house and celebrated. Mariscotti, down the street, hadn’t been watching the game. But she heard the commotion and wanted to join the party.
She donned two surgical masks, grabbed her Argentine flag and dove in, the only woman in a sea of men. “I was young once too,” she said. “I like to party. Why not let me have a little fun?
During soccer broadcasts, Argentinian broadcaster Juan Manuel “Bambino” Pons cheers on some players to the tune of “Go West,” the Village People song made famous by the Pet Shop Boys: “Fideo, la la la,” for example, for winger Ángel Di María.
So, as Mariscotti walks slowly to his neighbors’ corner, they sing, “Grandma, la la la la la!”
The celebrations reminded her of going out dancing as a child. Like a ritual, it seemed to be working: Argentina kept winning. Mariscotti made sure to wear a different color after each game, his own personal color scheme.
In the quarterfinal match with the Netherlands, there was a setback. Argentina opened up a 2-0 lead. Ninety minutes after kickoff, she headed over to Altamiranda’s house, ready to celebrate.
The street was empty. The Dutch had converted a free kick in the dying seconds of stoppage time, leveling the score at 2-2 to force extra time.
“Not yet, Grandma!” Ruggiero and his friends shouted from inside. It took about 30 minutes and a few penalties before they were able to return to their corner for the post-victory ritual, now joined by hundreds of people from all over Buenos Aires.
Mariscotti was initially hesitant about his new role as a national good luck charm: “What if something happens to me? So what?” she asked. But he finally accepted her new role for his current obsession: Messi.
The 35-year-old Argentina captain, considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, strikes Mariscotti as an unusually attentive family man. He deserves to finally win the biggest prize in sport, he said, for a country that hasn’t always embraced him as he has embraced his other soccer icon, Diego Maradona.
For Argentina, struggling with 100 percent annual inflation and a bitter political divide, the World Cup has offered a temporary respite from unrelenting bad news. A third World Cup championship would boost the national spirit.
“It would be more than a football achievement,” Mariscotti said. “We need a moment of joy in Argentina.”
But whatever the outcome on Sunday, she said, at least she’s happy the tournament brought her closer to her neighbors.
When Altamiranda stopped by on Thursday to present her with a custom-made T-shirt reading “Abuela la la la,” she asked if the rumors she had heard were true: a travel agency had offered to fly her to Qatar for the final? Sunday? ?
But he stopped her before she could say much.
“The cabal cannot be cut!” he protested her. “She is the grandmother I never had. Don’t take it from me, for God’s sake.
World Cup in Qatar
The last: France will face Argentina in the World Cup final after eliminating morocco, 2-0, in a semifinal on Wednesday in Khor, Qatar. Les Bleus will face Lionel Messi and Argentina on Sunday at 10 am ET for the world championship. Morocco will play Croatia in the match for third place on Saturday.
Messi’s probable last World Cup: For Lionel Messi, the World Cup presents one last chance to step out of maradona’s shadow. For Argentines, a respite from the unrelenting bad news.
Today’s worldview: In the minds of many critics, especially in the West, the World Cup in Qatar will always be a tournament shrouded in controversy. But Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, he wants people to have another opinion.
Perspective: “The United States is not the laughing stock of men’s soccer right now. He’s on to something, and he’s more in tune with what works for the rest of the world rather than stubbornly forcing an American sports culture, without the benefit of top talent, on international competition.” Read Jerry Brewer on the future of the US men’s national team.