The Argentina team preparing for Sunday’s World Cup final may have little in common with the victorious squads of 1978 and 1986, but there’s one perennial thread they and their countrymen have all had to endure: runaway inflation.
Annual inflation is projected to reach 99 per cent this month and economists expect it to top three figures soon.
When Diego Maradona led the albiceleste to the 1986 title, inflation averaged 116 per cent that year.
In 1978, when Argentina won the tournament it hosted, the rate was 176 per cent, according to central bank data and surveys.
Lionel Messi, born a year after the 1986 title and regarded by fans as the heir to Maradona’s legendary status, will make his last World Cup appearance against France.
Inspired by their talisman, the team’s run to the final match — from avoiding early elimination to posting five straight wins — has elated a nation once again enduring hard economic times.
High inflation is a constant feature in Argentina’s history, and not an indicator of the country’s World Cup success.
The team lost the 1990 final with hyperinflation around 2,000 per cent at the time.
When it lost the 2014 final, the official rate was only 22 per cent, but the suspicion was that the government manipulated the data.