Thousands of Argentines filled the streets of central Buenos Aires on Tuesday to watch on giant screens and then celebrate the Lionel Messi-led team’s 3-0 win over Croatia and a ticket to the World Cup final in Qatar.
Large crowds around the Obelisk, in the heart of the Argentine capital, exploded with joy as Messi gave the team the lead with a penalty, which was followed by a goal from youngster Julian Alvarez in the first half and a third goal in the second half, following a dazzling run by the Argentine captain.
The victory puts Argentina in Sunday’s final against the winner of Wednesday’s match between France and Morocco, which could give the country its first World Cup since Diego Maradona led the Albiceleste to victory in 1986.
“I’m excited because a final is the best. We cannot aspire to more,” Mauricio Gasandrea said amid the massive celebrations in downtown Buenos Aires. “Look how that is,” he added, pointing to people at the Obelisk.
Fans climbed onto lamp posts, traffic lights and monuments to celebrate the victory, while singing songs for the national team and sounding drums and trumpets.
“It’s impressive, it’s an immense joy. For all Argentines living this is unique, it cannot be explained,” said an amateur who identified herself as Angeles.
A World Cup victory would be a huge joy for Argentina and Messi, who said next Sunday’s final is likely to be their last World Cup game.