Soccer in Paraguay

Apropos of Paraguay's victory in this morning's world cup match against Slovakia, here's a photo I took almost 15 years ago:


This is a local match in the Paraguayan community where I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer. Our team, from Colonia 11 de Setiembre, beat Ype Jhu 2-1.

But that's not why I'm sharing the picture. Do you see all that dirt mounded up in the foreground? That's a mature nest of Atta sexdens, a leafcutter ant, right on the playing field.

I guess there are two points here. First, ants are an ubiquitous presence in Paraguay, getting into just about everything. It's a myrmecologist's paradise. Second, soccer is even more ubiquitous in Paraguay than ants- so that even a thriving city of 8 million ants in the middle of the field doesn't deter the Paraguayos from their Futbol.

That's why I love seeing little Paraguay- a forgotten landlocked country with a population only half the size of New York City- do so well on the world stage.

More like this

Ummm there are at least 136 countries with populations less than half the size of NYC. Many of them are quite prominent on the world stage. It's a big place. Great post, just can't abide casual demography, even on a Sunday morning :-)

It's true... but can they actually beat New Zealand?