Everyone is going a bit loco over the upcoming World Cup. Not just because Argentina suffers from a severe case of football fever almost every day of the season, but also because this year the World Cup is being held in neighbouring Brazil. To get you in the mood for World Cup fever, here are three top Argentine football moments.
3. 1978 World Cup, in Argentina
The last time the World Cup was in South America, it was in Argentina! Not only was Argentina the host nation, the country was also crowned champions. If that isn't a good omen for this year's World Cup, then nothing is. The world has already taken note, placing Argentina as the second favorites to win (after host nation Brazil).
2. Cambiasso and his 26 pass goal
Argentina managed to run circles around Serbia in 2006 when they won 6-0, however it was one goal in particular that has gone down as one of the greater pieces of team work in world cup history.
26 passes and a final goal by Esteban Cambiasso makes this a fine piece of footwork to watch and an impressive nod to Argentina's skill as a team during the 2006 World Cup, even if they were knocked out at quarter finals. You can see the footwork here.
6-0 might seem impressive, but spare a thought for American Samoa who have gone down in the record books for the biggest World Cup defeat after Australia popped in 31 goals against their nil in a 2001 qualifier.
1. Hand of God
It has to be (even though it pains me as an English writer, to have to bring up the most flagrant handball in history.) Maradona has gone down in history for his handball which secured Argentina a place in the semi-final in 1986 and a place in the football hall of fame. The quarter final between England and Argentina was given enormous amounts of attention even before the players had entered the match. With the Falklands War a fresh memory just four years previously, newspapers from both nations had been touting this as the re-match for both nations. The last time they had met on the pitch was in the 1966 World Cup when the Argentine captain had been sent off for foul play, and so the football match was topical for both on and off the pitch rivalry.
The first half of the match went by without much action, but Maradona changed the pace six minutes into the second half. With a confrontation between the English goal keeper Peter Shilten, Maradona knocked the ball in the goal as he leaped into the air hitting it high above Shilten's head. The crowd went wild, as Tunisian ref Ali Bin Nasser allowed the goal.
While England were licking their wounds at a hand ball being allowed, Maradona slipped in another one this time in fabulous football form to rightfully secure Argentina's place in the semi-final. English player Gary Lineker scored a goal before the end, but it wasn't enough to beat Argentina who came out with a 2-1 victory, which sped them onto the next round and evetually to win the World Cup that year.
Maradona walked away a legend, and the 'hand of God' moment is still one of the most talked about football moments in history.
Amanda Barnes is a British journalist living in Mendoza and she attended her very first futbal matches in Mendoza's World Cup stadium four years ago. Since then, she's quite enjoyed the atmosphere at Argentine futtball matches but still has no idea how to explain the offside rule. You can follow her blog at www.amandabarnes.co.uk