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‘¡Abuela la la la!’ María Cristina Mariscotti is Argentine World Cup cábala – The Washington Post


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BUENOS AIRES — The funny thing is, María Cristina Mariscotti isn’t that much of a soccer fan.

The 76-year-old prefers gardening to keeping up with Lionel Messi and the national team. She hasn’t been watching the World Cup — the matches make her too anxious, she says — and until recently, she never owned the team’s iconic sky-blue-and-white striped jersey.

But as this fútbol-crazed country prays for a win in Sunday’s final against France, it has nonetheless thrust Mariscotti up as a kind of national good-luck charm — the masked, bespectacled face of millions of fans dreaming of soccer glory.

“She’s the lucky abuela,” said her neighbor, Ariel Altamiranda, 46, using the Spanish word for grandmother. “This is more the abuela’s World Cup than it is Messi’s.”

Mariscotti honors the national obsession by listening from inside her home — the same one she’s lived in nearly her whole life — for the shouts and cheers that erupt after each victory. Then she emerges, Argentine flag in tow, to join a group of shirtless young men jumping and singing in the streets.

Masks and distance were hard. Now Argentina is returning to the tango.

These spontaneous neighborhood celebrations have turned her into a viral sensation, drawing ever growing crowds to her normally quiet neighborhood on the edge of the city with each successive win.

When the Albiceleste beat Croatia in the semifinals this week, hundreds, if not thousands, descended to join in the guys’ now-inescapable chant: “Abuela la la la la la.”

María Cristina Mariscotti, 76, became a national good-luck charm when her celebratory dances with neighbors after an Argentina win in the World Cup went viral. (Video: Courtesy of Ariel Altamiranda)

“I’m not even an abuela. I don’t have grandkids. I’m an aunt,” Mariscotti said on her doorstep Thursday afternoon. “But I kept coming out to join them, and even though I was the only woman, those guys adopted me as their own.”

So too, it seems, has the rest of the country: Radio hosts have spent hours dissecting her fame. Memes featuring her face have made it onto prime time news. And seemingly everyone agrees her postgame partying with the Argentine flag is the ultimate “cábala,” a superstitious ritual that is supposed to help carry the national team to victory.

“It was totally unplanned. You cross paths with an elderly person during the celebrations, and they’re the happiest person on Earth,” said Octavio Ruggiero, 29, whose TikTok videos of Mariscotti have racked up well over 4 million views. “She always came to look for us after every game, and that just became our lucky charm.”

Messi’s likely last World Cup inspires hope in a beleaguered Argentina

The Argentine reliance on cábalas — the word derives from the Hebrew “Kabbalah” — underscores the intensity and anxiety with which many here watch their national team: Mariscotti’s neighbors spoke of laying pet dogs on dining tables as they watch the games or timing their showers to end right at kickoff.

For Ruggiero and his buddies — they call themselves “los Pibes de Luro,” after the neighborhood soccer club where they met as kids — cheering with their adopted abuela after a victory has been a surefire formula for victory.

It started like this: Ruggiero gathered with his friends at Altamiranda’s house to watch Argentina play Poland in a group stage match.

They grilled beef for an asado and leaving the front door open so neighbors could stop in. Following a humiliating loss against Saudi Arabia, the selección needed a win to guarantee a place in the Round of 16.

When Argentina managed a 2-0 victory, Ruggiero and his buddies burst out of the house and celebrated. Mariscotti, down the street, had not been watching the game. But she heard the commotion and wanted to join in the party.

She put on 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 myself have some fun?”

Mariscotti’s spontaneous neighborhood celebrations in Buenos Aires have turned her into a viral sensation. (Video: Teo Armus/The Washington Post)

Argentina’s new crisis: A shortage of World Cup stickers

During soccer broadcasts, the Argentine announcer Juan Manuel “Bambino” Pons cheers 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 Maria.

María Cristina Mariscotti has become the lucky abuela, the Spanish word for grandmother, dancing in the streets with neighbors when Argentina wins. (Video: Courtesy of Octavio Ruggiero)

So as Mariscotti strides slowly to her neighbors’ corner, they chant: “Abuela, la la la la la!”

The celebrations reminded her of going out dancing as a girl. As a ritual, it seemed to be working: Argentina kept winning. Mariscotti made sure to wear a different color after each match — her own personal cábala.

In the quarterfinal match with the Netherlands, there was a hiccup. Argentina opened a 2-0 lead. Ninety minutes after kickoff, she headed toward Altamiranda’s house, ready to celebrate.

The street was empty. The Dutch had converted a free kick in the final seconds of stoppage time, evening the score at 2-2 to force extra time.

“Not yet, abuela!” Ruggiero and his friends shouted from inside. It took about 30 minutes and some penalties before they could return to their corner for the post-victory ritual, now joined by hundreds of people from across Buenos Aires.

Worried about inflation? In Argentina, it’s a way of life.

Mariscotti was initially hesitant about her new role as a national good-luck charm — “What if something happens to me? Then what?” she asked. But she ultimately embraced her new role for her current obsession: Messi.

Argentina’s 35-year-old captain, considered one of the greatest soccer players ever, strikes Mariscotti as an unusually thoughtful family man. He deserves to finally win the sport’s biggest prize, she said, for a country that has not always embraced him as they it has its other soccer icon, Diego Maradona.

For Argentina, struggling with annual inflation of 100 percent and bitter political division, 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 soccer achievement,” Mariscotti said. “We need a moment of joy in Argentina.”

But whatever the outcome Sunday, she said, she’s is at least happy that the tournament has brought her closer with her neighbors.

Videos of María Cristina Mariscotti, 76, dancing with her neighbors in celebration after an Argentine victory in the World Cup have gone viral. (Video: Courtesy of Octavio Ruggiero)

As Altamiranda dropped by on Thursday to deliver a custom-made “Abuela la la la” T-shirt, he asked if the rumors he had heard were true: Had a travel agency in fact offered to fly her to Qatar for the final on Sunday?

But he stopped her before she could say much.

“The cábala can’t be cut off!” he protested. “She’s the abuela I never had. Don’t take her away from me, for the love of God.”

World Cup in Qatar

The latest: The World Cup inched closer to the end Saturday with Croatia capturing third place in the tournament by beating Morocco, 2-1. France and Argentina will play for the world championship Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Messi’s likely last World Cup: For Lionel Messi, the World Cup presents a final chance to step out from Maradona’s shadow. For Argentines, a respite from unrelenting bad news.

Today’s WorldView: In the minds of many critics, especially in the West, Qatar’s World Cup will always be a tournament shrouded in controversy. But Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, wants people to take another view.

Perspective: “America is not a men’s soccer laughingstock right now. It’s onto something, and it’s more attuned to what’s working for the rest of the world rather than stubbornly forcing an American sports culture — without the benefit of best-of-the-best talent — into international competition.” Read Jerry Brewer on the U.S. men’s national team’s future.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Live Stream –

Manchester United

Ratings: De Gea, Martinez & Sabitzer were great against Fulham; Fernandes’ brace was a positive too



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Manchester United beat Fulham 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Emirate FA Cup quarter final. It was Fulham who were the better team for large spells as Aleksandar Mitrović opening the scoring in the 50th minute of the match. A Willian handball gave a penalty for United which Bruno Fernandes scored – Willian, Mitrović and Marco Silva were sent off. Marcel Saboteur then scored his first goal for United before Fernandes scored a second.

Fulham started well at Old Trafford with Aleksandar Mitrović showing great strength down the right in the second minute, whipping in a good ball that Scott McTominay had to be alert to knock behind. Harry Maguire then headed clear the resulting set-piece. David De Gea made a save in the third minute as Issa Diop was found 15-yards out on an angle, looping a good header towards De Gea, who had the help the ball over the crossbar. Fulham were lively.

In the fourth minute of the match Mitrović had a penalty appeal waved away after he thought he was fouled by Luke Shaw in the box. United seemed to be sloppy from the start with Maguire adding to it with bad passing from the back. Andreas Pereira then drove forward in the eighth minute, found Mitrović who then set up Willian on the edge of the box, who should have found more but hit his effort far and wide of the target. United needed to be so much better.

In the tenth minute, Bruno Fernandes was down needing treatment after seemingly being elbowed just above his waist. He was fine to continue though. Marcus Rashford launched an attack in the 13th minute, finding Wout Weghorst on the edge of the box for the Dutchman’s finish was not good enough and was straight at Bernd Leno. Mitrović seemed to be lively in the early stages of the match, seeking a goal against United in the Emirates FA Cup.

Fulham had a good chance in the 14th minute with Harrison Reed nicking the ball off Lisandro Martinez then charging into the box. He had three in the box but his final ball was not good enough and the ball was cleared out for a corner. The corner found its way to Tim Ream on the left flank and he delivered a good ball across the face of the goal but there were no takers for Fulham. Andreas Pereira was booked in the 18th minute for a foul on Rashford.

Maguire was booked three minutes later, which would be a suspension for the semi final of the competition, should United get there where the winner of this match will face Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley. United were close in the 24th minute as Rashford cut onto his right foot, curled the ball into where Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer were but neither of them could reach it in the end. Fulham wanted another penalty in the 26th minute after Mitrović went down.

It was not given though as there was nothing in it – other than a dive for Mitrović. Fulham had a chance in the 31st minute but Mitrović was unable to find the back of the net. United had a chance at the other end a minute later with Rashford the source of imagination for United but on his final ball, Leno was able to get to block it which ricocheted of Rashford and out for a goal kick. United then started to find some flow but needed a lot more than they had brought to far.

Martinez defended well in the 40th minute as Mitrović was sent up the channel, having an eye for the box. He tried to beat the Argentinian defender with a change of pace but Martinez stayed strong and came away with the ball. Sabitzer had a chance on goal in the 41st minute, taking on a strike from 22-yards but Leno parried it away. Jadon Sancho started something a minute later, with Sabitzer also involved but Rashford did not get to it. It was 0-0 at half time.

There were no substitutions for either team during the break. Fulham started on top again in the second half with João Palhinha and Reed keeping the chance alive, Willian then back heeled the ball to Antonee Robinson who shot at goal but De Gea tipped it over the crossbar. De Gea made another save a minute later was Willian struck from the edge of the box. Fulham opened the scoring in the 50th minute through Mitrović, who buried the ball provided by Issa Diop.

In the 54th minute, United went direct to Weghorst who held it for Rashford, then finding Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder took his strike from the edge of the box but it was wide of the target. Ten Hag made a substitution in the 59th minute with Antony replacing McTominay. Willian started rolling back the years in the 64th minute, showing his class and ability. He was unable to inspire Fulham to double their lead though. United still needed to get something back.

De Gea performed another great save in the 66th after Mitrović rose highest to head towards goal. Fernandes had some involvement in something in the 68th minute, sending it in to Sancho, who struck it and it deflected off Rashford. In the 70th minute, Willian seemed to handle the ball, being honest about it. VAR got involved and the referee looked at the screen. He sent Willian off and gave United a penalty – it was a harsh sending off for the Brazilian.

Mitrović got nasty, pushed the referee and pushed his face into his face and was sent off for that. Marco Silva was also sent off for his reaction from the double red card, which turned into a treble. Fernandes took the penalty, scoring his ninth goal of the season for United. Two minutes later, Sabitzer scored his first goal for United after Shaw played the ball into him as he was running in the box. VAR looked at the goal and awarded it. United were 1-0 down to 2-1 up.

That was a dramatic ten minutes. Willian was perhaps treated badly for that sending off but what Mitrović did was out of order and he deserves that. Silva also deserved to be sent off for his reaction to what happened. Some will say United got their way with the referees again but it was purely on Fulham what happened. United just gained from it. That is what happens in football. The Fernandes penalty followed by the Saboteur goal was brilliant for United.

United seemed to cool the game down after that, trying to keep possession – dominating the game, which was a first to be fair. It was a terrible game for United before the penalty. Antony came close in the 88th minute – it tested Leno and Diop but he was not able to score. Fred replaced Rashford in the 83rd minute of the match, giving United more in the midfield with them 2-1 up at this stage of the match. United just needed to keep the ball and keep Fulham a bay.

In the 89th minute, Luis Boa Norte – Fulham’s assistant manager, made a triple substitution with Cédric Spares, Manot Solomon and Daniel James replacing Kenny Tete, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Harrison Reed. In the 90th minute, Tom Cairney replaced Andreas Pereira. Seven minutes were added at the end of the second half. United found a third goal, through Fernandes – his tenth of the season, assisted by Fred in the sixth minute of added time.

It was United that would face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup semi final at Wembley in April with Manchester City facing Sheffield United in the other semi final. United’s match will probably be on Sunday 23 April as they are playing in the UEFA Europa League the Thursday prior to the match. Ten Hag was happy, United were happy and the supporters were happy. Another trip to Wembley for United – another chance for another trophy this season.

Player Ratings

David De Gea: Made some great saves to deny Fulham – one of which kept them in the game. Conceded to Mitrović but later in the second half, that threat was gone. It was a comfortable match for De Gea. ★★★★★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Did not seem to be at his best until Antony was on the pitch. His final third play before that was dire. Their ability with each other is good to see. One of the better aspects of his game. ★★★★★★

Harry Maguire: Not the best performances – one of the worst. Hauled down Mitrović and was booked for it – therefore misses the semi final. Kept his place as Raphael Varane was ill and regressed massively. ★★★★★

Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian really imposed himself against Fulham, although Harrison Reed did cause him to misjudge him. That said, he was great at the back for United and health with Aleksandar Mitrović well. ★★★★★★★★

Luke Shaw: Did not really get going to help United on the attack much. Did get his seventh assist of the season though playing the ball into Marcel Sabitzer for him to score his first United goal, overlapping Jadon Sancho. ★★★★★★★

Scott McTominay: He was disciplined positionally when he did not have the ball – not that he was bad with it. He got a chance on goal just before the break. Replaced by Antony in the 58th minute of the match – before the madness. ★★★★★

Marcel Sabitzer: Scored his first goal for United. Took time to adjust with Scott McTominay. Had a good shot in the first half and played in a cross. His goal was a brilliant finish – first Austrian to score for United. ★★★★★★★★

Jadon Sancho: Seemed off the pace in the first half. Seemed slow on and off the ball at times. Did not get much dynamism in the match but did win the penalty for United with the ball touching Willian’s hand. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Careless with the ball at times. He changed his performance when United won the penalty levelling from the spot. He got his second of the game in added time, giving him ten goals and 10 assists this season. ★★★★★★★

Marcus Rashford: He was the one player that created something in the first half. He was quiet in the second half and did not get many chances. He was replaced by Fred in the 83rd minute with United 2-1 up. ★★★★★★

Wout Weghorst: It was not a great day for the Dutchman against Fulham. He was unable to get many chances towards goal, with his first shot not actually a shot, more of a back pass. He was put in the number ten role. ★★★★★


Antony: Replaced McTominay 58′. He helped United on the attack with led to the penalty. He was lively since his introduction. It was good that he recovered from illness ahead of this match. Superb player on his day. ★★★★★★★

Fred: Replaced Rashford 83′. Came on giving more energy with United in the lead. He got his fourth assist of the season for Fernandes’ second goal of the match. He was an important substitute for United. ★★★★★★

Match Information

Goals: Bruno Fernandes 75′ penalty’, 90+6′, Marcel Sabitzer 77′; Aleksandar Mitrović 50′

Assists: Luke Shaw 77′, Fred 90+6′; Issa Diop 50′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; McTominay (Antony 58′), Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford (Fred 83′); Weghorst

Substitutes Not Used: Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Mainoo; Pellistri, Elanga

Bookings: Harry Maguire 21′; Andreas Pereira 18′, Willian s/o 72′, Aleksandar Mitrović 72′

Written by John Walker

source – Manchester United Live Stream Now

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FIFA World Cup to have 104 matches in 2026 – Sky News



By – Watch FIFA 2022 World Cup Live Stream Online

FIFA World Cup to have 104 matches in 2026  Sky News
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live Stream –

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Manchester United

Confirmed XI: Maguire & Martinez in defence; Sabitzer, Sancho, Fernandes & Rashford supporting Weghorst in attack against Fulham



By – Stream Manchester United Game Today

Manchester United face Fulham in the Emirates FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford this afternoon. Erik ten Hag’s side will play their second quarter final of the season days after reaching their third quarter final in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face Sevilla over two legs next month. This match against Fulham is the final match for United prior to the international break, then the season will continue with United playing nine matches in April – another busy month.

Should United beat Fulham and earn a semi final place in the FA Cup this season, the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League would be postponed as that is the weekend the semi finals will be played at Wembley, so United would need to find the time to reschedule that match, plus the one against Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend. Should United go all the way in both competitions, they will have a busy period ahead.

United and Fulham have already met at Craven Cottage in the Premier League this season, just prior to the FIFA World Cup where United won 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in in the last minute of added time. United will face Fulham again at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season. The draw for the semi final of the FA Cup should be done prior to this match commencing, providing extra time is not needed between Brighton and Grimsby Town.

Manchester United

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw;

McTominay, Sabitzer;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;



Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Fred, Mainoo; Antony, Pellistri, Elanga



Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson;

Reed, Palhinha;

De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian;



Rodak; Adarabioyo, Soares; Cairney, James, Lukic; Wilson, Solomon, Vinicius

United and Fulham have met 87 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs. United have won 53 times, drawn 20 times and lost 14 times. Earlier this season United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage, just prior to the FIFA World Cup with Christian Eriksen and Alejandro Garnacho scoring either side of Dan James’ equaliser. This will be the second meeting of the two teams this season – United face Fulham at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match this season.

United and Fulham have met 14 times in the FA Cup – United have won eight times, drawn four times and lost twice. The last defeat to Fulham in the FA Cup came back in 1908. United have scored 27 goals, conceded 15 and kept four clean sheets. The last time the two teams met in the FA Cup was back in 2013 – a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford with Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and a brave from Javier Hernandez before Aaron Hughes scored a late consolation goal.

Andreas Pereira, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Edwin van de Sar, Paul Parker, Kieran Richardson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Chris Smalling, Tim Fosu-Mensah, George Best and Charlie Mitten have all played for both Manchester United and Fulham. Best is probably the most well-known along with van de Sar, Parker, Cole, Berbatov, Mitten Saha and Smalling. Pereira is doing well at Fulham after being sold by United. He has three goals and six assists in 31 appearances so far.

Written by John Walker

source – Manchester United Live Stream Now

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