“If They Can Die for Italy, They Can Play for Italy!”: Immigration, Italo-Argentine Identity, and the 1934 Italian World Cup Team
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In 1934, four Argentine-born soccer players participated for the Italian team that won the FIFA World Cup on home soil. As children born to parents who participated in a wave of Italian immigrants that helped reshape Argentine society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these four players were part of a larger trend where over one hundred Argentine soccer players of Italian descent were signed by Italian clubs in the late 1920s and through the 1930s. This thesis examines the liminal space between Italian and Argentine identity within the broader context of diaspora formation in Argentina through a look at these four exemplars of the transatlantic talent shift. Utilizing sources that include Italian and Argentinian newspapers and magazines, national federation documents, and census and parish records, the thesis reveals the fluidity and temporality of national identity among Italo-Argentine immigrant offspring during the early twentieth century.