Hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets to celebrate elatedly on Sunday the emotional victory of the team led by star Lionel Messi, who beat France on penalties after drawing in the final of the World Cup in Qatar.
In a thrilling and intense match played at Lusail Stadium in front of 88,000 fans, Argentina won 4-2 on penalties after drawing 3-3 with France, the previous champions, 3-3 in regulation time and won their third World Cup.
“I can’t believe it! It was difficult but we did it, thanks to Messi,” said Santiago, a 13-year-old boy who with his family went to celebrate the triumph with a crowd in front of the house that belonged to the star Diego Maradona, still idolized by the Argentines, in Buenos Aires.
With flags, hats and blue and white shirts, the Argentines filled in minutes the center and other emblematic sites of Buenos Aires to celebrate. The celebrations were reproduced in practically all the cities of the country, such as Rosario, birthplace of Messi.
“It was an incredible match, which suffered a lot. This team made people fall in love like it didn’t happen decades ago. With effort and work, he brought people together,” said Diego Aburgeily, 46, who celebrated with his family and friends in the suburbs of Buenos Aires between songs and flags.
The South American team – which lost the final of the tournament to Germany in 2014 – had not won a World Cup since 1986, which has increased the uproar among Argentines, beset by a prolonged economic crisis that has pushed more than 40% of the population into poverty.
“It’s an immense joy after so much tension,” Nicolas Piry, a 46-year-old lawyer, told Reuters.
“The harmony of the team, columned behind a leader who continues to the level that made him the best in the world, and the conditions of the South American footballers led us to this well-deserved success. Let’s go Argentina!” he added.
Buenos Aires’ iconic Teatro Colon displayed a giant blue and white T-shirt to celebrate, while a series of concerts featuring songs fans sang in the stands of Qatar and Argentina cheered on the crowd.
Argentina’s goals were converted by Messi (2) and Angel Di Maria, while Kylian Mbappe scored all three of France’s goals.
Messi, 35, said that the final against France will be his last game in World Cups, although he said after the match that he will play a few more games in the national team.