aAround the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, revelers in football jerseys, hats, wigs, and face paint in Argentinian colors dance all night to drums and sound systems blaring from cumbia and reggaeton.
The youth climbed the fences, lampposts and the giant sign of the Library of Alexandria at the bottom of the monument. It was an amazing tribute to the World Cup triumph this country had been waiting for since this football mad nation last carried the trophy in 1986.
A giant soccer jersey is suspended from the façade of the Teatro Colón, in the center of Avenida 9 de Julio. Parents asked friends to take pictures of kids wearing little Messi jerseys to mark the momentous occasion when their children – who are too young to remember – grow up.
More than a million people took to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate the victory, according to estimates by the Argentine authorities.
It was a spectacle played across town, with impromptu parties erupting at bus stops as fans on their way back to the suburbs waited for buses they were too elated to realize weren’t running.
“Coming to Argentina during the World Cup was the best decision I’ve made in my entire life!” said Thomas Cocles, who has come home from New York so he can watch the World Cup with his family.
On Monday, the Argentines looked clouded but still buoyed by victory. The national soccer team is scheduled to arrive at Buenos Aires Minestro Pistarini Airport at around 2am on Tuesday morning, arriving on a special Argentine Airlines flight with the team’s picture emblazoned on its side. They can expect a hero’s welcome, with local media posting links to flight tracker sites so fans can follow their return in real time.
Those huge crowds are expected to flock to the airport to see them back home, where buses that would normally run along the highway to central Buenos Aires are said to be diverted. Several social media users called on President Alberto Fernandez to decree December 20 a public holiday, with “Alberto’s decree” appearing on Twitter after the team’s victory.
“Always together, always united. We are world champions! There are no more words. Thank you, Argentina,” Fernandez chirp after the game.
For many Argentines, Lionel Messi leading his team to victory has sealed his place on Maradona’s side in the football pantheon. The headline in La Nación was “Messi takes history by storm, earns devotion, gratitude and immortality”. The 35-year-old captain said the World Cup would be his last, but on Sunday, with the World Cup in his arms, he told reporters he would like to continue playing for the national team for now. .
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, traditionally introduced Messi Tail robe before he lifted the cup. This gesture was interpreted as a great gesture of respect on both sides.
Amidst the sheer joy of car horns, music and shouting, many fans donned T-shirts, caps and signs with Messi’s new favorite quote: “What are you fucking looking for? Go there silly!(What are you looking at, stupid? Get lost, stupid!) This phrase is from the tournament’s infamous quarter-final match with the Netherlands: When he walked off the pitch, Messi was giving an interview in the tunnel when he caught Dutch striker Wout Weghorst giving him the stink , And he made the comment live.His no-nonsense attitude spread instantly.
A massive outpouring of support from across Latin America, as football fans across the region are ecstatic that the trophy has gone, if not to them, then at least to their regional neighbours. “The victory of Argentina is a victory for the great country,” chirp Bolivian President Luis Arce, using the phrase describing the ideal of a co-territorial community of Spanish-speaking Americans.
“Football is so beautiful” added Chilean President, Gabriel Boric. A giant hug for our Argentine brothers. Their joy crosses the [Andean] cordillera”.
In France, which lost to Argentina by the narrowest of margins, police reported more than 200 arrests. But in Buenos Aires, the city’s police counted only 17 arrests as of Monday morning, according to local media.
On the streets of San Telmo, a truck full of men drove by with several liters of Quilmes beer. A man in a blue and white boiler suit slammed the roof of the car in a rage at a felt slight, looking for a moment as if he might start something.
But then, the sounds of the revelers everywhere amplified like a tide. They said come on man – be happy. “We won!”
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