World Cup: Who is an Argentine-born Dutch queen to root for?

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has good reasons to root for both sides in today's Dutch-Argentine World Cup semifinal.

By , Correspondent

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    King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands cheer as they watch the Dutch play Australia in a World Cup group match in Porto Alegre on June 18. With the Dutch set to play Argentina today in the semifinals, there has been much speculation as to just where the Argentine-born Maxima's rooting loyalties lie.
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She is married to the monarch of The Netherlands, but was born in Argentina.

So which nation's team will Queen Máxima cheer today when The Netherlands take on Argentina in the second semi-final of the World Cup?

Máxima's dual nationality – and where her heart truly lies – has been subject of much speculation in both the Dutch and Argentine media.

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Máxima only became queen of The Netherlands last year, when her husband, then-Prince Willem-Alexander was crowned king after his mother's abdication. (Though technically "queen consort," she has been granted the title of "queen" by the Royal House.) But she was born Máxima Zorreguieta in Buenos Aires, and grew up there – including, when she was seven years old, during Argentina's 1978 World Cup victory at the expense of the Dutch.

As such, some in the Argentine media assumed she has a "divided heart" between Holland and her native country. And there has still been some playful doubt in the Dutch media about who she'd root for. De Telegraaf wondered how the atmosphere in the royal living room will be. Surely there will be some tension, the paper speculated. Some creative Dutch fans have even created some doctored photos speculating about the marital troubles that the match might bring to the royal couple's home in Wassenaar.

The official word is that Máxima will join today with her subjects to cheer "hup Holland hup," the Netherlands Government Information Service confirmed. "Naturally, the king and queen are supporters of the Dutch team. Queen Máxima is Dutch and thus supports the Netherlands," the service said, according to state broadcaster NOS. 

The fact that the government released an official statement on the matter shows how important the match is to Dutch citizens.

But Máxima has not been shy about her support for the Dutch in sports. Though Máxima and Willem-Alexander will not attend today's match, they already put in an appearance in Brazil, watching the Netherlands defeat Australia 3-2, and even visited the dressing room to congratulate the players.

Today's match is not the first time Máxima's loyalties have been tested. In 2006, The Netherlands and Argentina met during the group phase of the World Cup in Germany. Máxima annoyed football fans in her country of birth then, by supporting The Netherlands. “I am interested in Argentina, but I am Dutch,” she was quoted as saying.

In the Netherlands sports and royalty go together like fries and mayonnaise (a Dutch favorite), and not just because the jerseys that Dutch players wear are orange, in reference to the royal family's last name. In 1898, Queen Wilhelmina, Willem-Alexander's great-grandmother, became the first Dutch queen to attend a game. 

In 1974, the Dutch national team made it to second place in the World Cup and was invited to the royal palace. Queen Juliana, Willem-Alexander's grandmother, watched all the games, according to a media report. Her husband, Prince Consort Bernhard, attended the final in West Germany.

Should The Netherlands lose today, would Máxima then support Argentina in the final against Germany? A spokesperson for the Netherlands Government Information Service said questions needed to be sent by e-mail, but as of this morning no comment was forthcoming. 

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