Argentina players’ Falklands protest sparks anger ahead of World Cup warm-up friendly against Slovenia
Could make for an interesting semi-final (if England do much, much better than expected)
Argentina’s national football team have reignited their rivalry with England ahead of the World Cup by posing with a banner declaring that “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (“The Falklands are Argentinian”).
The message was displayed for the cameras ahead of a World Cup warm-up friendly against Slovenia, with just one week to go before the team’s opening match in Brazil.
It is often unfurled before Argentina play international matches, and apparently indicates the players’ support of the country’s claims to sovereignty over the islands, which have been ruled by Britain since 1833.
But appearing so close to the biggest event in the footballing calendar has brought it far greater attention than usual – and no small amount of anger among social media users.
One questioned why Fifa was “allowing the Argentinian squad to politicise football” in the run-up to Brazil 2014.
In April, Argentina accused Britain of provocative behaviour over plans to carry out military exercises in the Falkland Islands.
But despite repeated diplomatic clashes over the territory since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took power in Argentina in 2007, a referendum last year saw islanders vote by 1,513 to three in favour of remaining British.
In the match itself last night, Argentina beat Slovenia 2-0 with goals from Ricardo Alvarez and Lionel Messi, who came on as a substitute in the second half.
It puts the team in a strong position ahead of the World Cup, where they enter as one of the favourites to do well.
And the ongoing “Malvinas” banner controversy could make for an interesting semi-final – or even final – if England were to manage to either win their group or progress all the way to the last match from second. Either scenario, however unlikely, could see them face Argentina in what would be an historic showdown.
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Manchester City vs Manchester United analysis: Manuel Pellegrini has no excuse for City's lack of a Plan B, writes Danny Higginbotham
Chelsea injury list: Loic Remy lead the Blues' absent players while Diego Costa is set to return
Radamel Falcao: Manchester United ready to seal permanent transfer of striker as 'everything is complete' to extend his Old Trafford stay
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything