Florencia Fraga still can’t believe what she experienced in Russia when she attended the Argentina/Croatia FIFA World Cup match as a Coca-Cola Flag Bearer.

“Just before we walked onto the pitch for the National Anthems, I was standing very close to Messi and Aguero," Fraga, 15, said.

The Palmero, Argentina native earned the honor of carrying the flag of the national team after collecting 1,400 Coca-Cola bottle caps. This experience was one of the best moments of her life; an experience that will forever be engrained in her memory.

Latin American Flag Bearers

Fraga was accompanied by 10 other Argentinian teenagers who also won this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thanks to Coca-Cola.

"For me, traveling to the World Cup was a dream, it was like going to a new world. I really liked the idea and that's why I started to collect the bottle caps,” said fellow winner Tomas Florencia. "I did not expect to win. Receiving the email from Coca-Cola shocked me and I started to cry. Tears that only continued in Russia. "When I went out on the field with the Argentinian flag, I started to cry again. Seeing all the people jumping and singing the anthem…it was very exciting. "

Latin American Flag Bearers

He was not alone. Countries all across Latin America sent contest winners to Russia to participate in this only Coke Can do experience. Including Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, Uruguay and Panama.

First-time FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Panama, sent a large delegation of teens. For them, the performance on the pitch didn’t matter. Being a part of the historic moment for the country was enough.

In Uruguay, a country that carries football in its essence, many dream of going to a World Cup and being able to walk onto the field where their idols are going to play. They made this dream a reality for six teenagers.

For Ramiro Zulueta, one of the contest winners, it was more than a dream. "It was a huge joy that went through my body,” he said. But this experience doesn’t end there. It went much further. Leticia, Ramiro's mother, explained that the fact that her son carried the Uruguayan flag implied something much more important.

"We are from a soccer neighborhood and are very humble," Zulueta said. "It's his dream, but there are a lot of people who are living it with him." 

Katzi Olivella, Head of Connections & Experiential Marketing, Coca-Cola South Latin, adds, "The experience not only fulfilled the dream of stepping into a World Cup stadium, being close to their football idols and carrying the flag of their country, but also enriched them culturally. We toured different cities, tasted different food than they are accustomed to, and from the social point of view, they built new links both with each other and with the Russian kids who also participated in the Flag Bearers program. And I want to highlight their personal growth by showing responsibility and maturity outside the family environment.”