Ddrraaw ...... bbuutt lliikkee aa ffoorr
A 0--0 wiinn Arrggeennttiinnaa
AT the final whistle of their Women’s World Cup opener, Argentina’s players dropped to their knees as if they had won the entire tournament. They didn’t even win the game.
But for the first time ever, they didn’t lose, either. Argentina played a 0-0 draw against Japan to earn its first ever point at the World Cup. Argentina lost its previous six World Cup matches in 2003 and 2007, and missed the 2011 and 2015 tournaments.
For a nation that loves the game and worships its globally successful men’s team, the draw against Japan can be as good as a win. Argentina had been outscored 33-2 in six previous World Cup games.
“I think we can really inspire people a lot,” midfielder Estefania Banini said. “We can also start a new process.”
Argentina wants far more than points at the World Cup. The bigger goal is to touch more hearts and minds back home.
“For women’s football in Argentina it is great that we are starting to flourish,” Argentina coach Carlos Borrello said. “We are starting on our way and just starting to face up to these powerful forces in football.”
Borrello said he hopes for a push for equality between the men’s and women’s games — and also across Argentinian society as a whole.
“We have started getting support now from the Argentinian football federation for the team. It’s true that results help a lot, and this will definitely help and reinforce all the work,” he said. “It will help us to continue on the great path. We have to also strengthen the grassroots of our game.”
Things are changing in Argentina. Previous concerns about a lack of uniforms and inadequate training conditions have been addressed, two years after players went on strike because stipends went unpaid.