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For Argentina fans, watching the World Cup can be too much to handle

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The World Cup final between France and Argentina is less than 24 hours away. Both countries have each won two World Cups, but France's most recent win was the last tournament four years ago. The last time Argentina won was more than 30 years ago. So for some fans of the team, the stress is just too much, so much so that some can hardly bear to watch. That's the case for Bruno Estigarribia, a linguist from Argentina who lives in North Carolina.

BRUNO ESTIGARRIBIA: I remember very well the two World Cups that Argentina won in 1978 and 1986, even though I was very little in 1978. And I remember recreating the most famous goal from the final in the kitchen using the high chair as a goal. I remember in 1986 a World Cup in which Diego Maradona was really dominating.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: Diego Maradona of Argentina, the world's greatest player.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: (Inaudible).

MARTIN: As we said, 1986 was the last time Argentina took home the cup. And Bruno says Argentina is way overdue. But every time he watches a big match, he says he gets emotionally involved.

ESTIGARRIBIA: I get a feeling of dread. I just feel dread, dread for anything that could happen. And I just don't want to know anything about the game.

MARTIN: When it gets too bad, Bruno has to walk away from the TV. He's even taken on a set of routines when he looks away, hoping that they somehow bring good luck to the squad he can hardly watch. But he says the only way to really keep the stress levels down is to watch less of each match.

ESTIGARRIBIA: So this is my way of saying to the world and to providence, I actually don't care. Do what you will. I am going to go on with my regular life, my regular schedule, trying to trick providence into thinking that I don't really care if we win or lose.

MARTIN: That was Bruno Estigarribia talking about watching - sort of - his beloved Argentina in the World Cup. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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