Argentina vs Great Britain: tensions but no protests

I’m at the Olympic hockey venue to watch Team GB take on Argentina in the men’s competition. This is a fixture with some added spice since Fernando Zylberberg, the former captain of the Argentine side, was shown in a television advert filmed in the Falkland Islands, the South Atlantic territory disputed between the two nations.

There have been fears that Argentinian athletes might stage protests of some kind during the London Olympics in this, the 30th anniversary year of their nation’s attempt to take control of the islands.

But Argentinian journalists in the international media centre here told me earlier today that their president, Cristina Fernandez, had warned her country’s Olympians that they should make no protest of any kind as it was against the Olympic spirit.

The coach of the Argentinian women’s team, Carlo Retegui, also said recently in an interview: “We will do nothing to merge politics and sport. They spirit of the Olympics is something different from politics.”

So on that basis, it will hopefully be a quiet evening with just some great hockey.

So far, the Argentinian players have been politely applauded by a (not surprisingly) overwhelmingly British crowd.

From where I can sit I can only see two or three small groups of Argentinian fans.

The national anthems were both observed with perfect politeness. The game is under way.

And GB have had a goal disallowed under a review system after 6 minutes. No ill-temper on or off the pitch so far.

UPDATE at 8.30pm

GB beat Argentina 4-1 after a game that had some ill-tempered moments, but no more than you’d expect at a level like this. I couldn’t see any protests by anyone in the crowd, which had so few Argentinians in it, it was hard to see them. Yet another no-show from those predicting problems for the games. Long may it last.