With a reputation for arrogance and illusions of European-styled grandeur, Argentines have long been the objects of scorn and the butt of jokes across Latin America. But for at least 90 minutes when Argentina takes on Germany in the World Cup final, most Latin Americans will put aside their irritation with their proud neighbors as they look to Lionel Messi and his teammates to salvage what’s left of the region’s soccer pride.
That Argentina has stepped into the role as the region’s flag bearer is a cruel reversal for many. An online poll in 19 countries taken by YouGov together with The New York Times prior to the World Cup found that in most Latin American countries surveyed people said the team they rooted against was Argentina, which has won the title twice.
The animosity toward Argentina stems from the country’s settlement by waves of European immigrants beginning in the late 19th century, a demographic marker that long fueled perceptions of economic and cultural superiority over their more indigenous or African-descended neighbors. Even the Italian-influenced Spanish spoken on the streets of Buenos Aires is out of step with the language elsewhere.
But not everyone is dancing the tango, least of all fans in Brazil. The mere presence of their eternal rival playing a final in Brazil’s soccer cathedral, Rio’s Maracana stadium, is for many a pill too hard to swallow even if they would like to see their loss to Germany avenged.
butt：名詞，指笑柄或嘲弄的對象，如：He was fed up with being the butt of their jokes.（他受夠了被他們當成笑柄。）
root for：動詞片語，指支持某人或某事、替某人加油打氣，如：We’re rooting for the underdog.（我們支持弱勢的一方。）文中使用root against則指不支持某人或某事、喝倒采。
a bitter pill （to swallow）：指不得不忍受的情況，如：We found his deception a bitter pill to swallow.（他的欺騙讓我們難以下嚥。）