BUENOS AIRES ( Associated Press) — After suffering inexplicably until the last minute, Argentina pulled off a jubilant victory over France on penalties in its national team’s World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday.
In the end, winning 4–2 in the shootout, Argentina won the World Cup for the third time in their history. The last coronation took place in Mexico in 1986.
Millions of Argentinians cried, screamed and melted in their homes, in bars and squares in dozens of cities where they gathered on big screens to watch the heart-stopping final, realizing that they had something to do with their hands. were touching the sky. moment or that all illusions collapsed in others.
Argentina squandered a 2–0 lead in regulation time. They regained the lead after extra time, but French star Kylian Mbappe’s third goal in the match forced them to take the lead 11–0.
Gonzalo Montiel converted the decisive penalty in the shootout to end 3–3 after 120 minutes in what was perhaps the most thrilling final in history.
“I’m very happy, we really deserved it, this team suffered a lot, but it’s recovering,” Josefina Villalba, 55, told The Associated Press. The woman, dressed in Argentina’s light blue and white, was among fans who came to the capital’s square to watch the final.
After 36 long years of waiting, the Albiceleste rose again with the World Cup scepter, erasing the economic troubles of recent times with a stroke of the pen. The first title was achieved in 1978, but they lost in the finals of 1930, 1990 and 2014 – the latter already having Lionel Messi as their star.
“The satisfaction is great,” said Fabio Villani, 45, wearing the national team jersey. “Argentina were better in the first half, they handled the ball, but we know what France are and what players they have and it was a very even match.”
There was more than one fan of the national team who was convinced that the football star Diego Maradona, who died two years ago, was the architect of Argentina’s triumph.
“Diego is watching everything from heaven; I didn’t want Argentina to lose. First World Cup without him and we won it! Diego is always present, Diego is eternal,” said 18-year-old Javier López at the Azteca stadium, wearing an Argentina jersey bearing the soccer legend’s name that lifted the World Cup.
The 26-year-old Facundo Alonso said that the team led by Lionel Scaloni “broadcasts something different from the previous teams that did not feel the shirt, while these players leave everything in each game, they put everything in”. .
In bright sunshine, López and Alonso were soon joined by thousands of people who celebrated in the Buenos Aires plaza where the obelisk monument stands.
Many of them traveled from the metro in full wagons to the central venue where they sang the song “Muchachos”, which has become famous among Argentina fans in Qatar at this World Cup and reflects their desire to win the world trophy.
“Guys, now we’re excited again, I want to win third, I want to be world champion,” the passengers sang loudly as they jumped.
In the square where the obelisk is located, the song was heard again, as was the name of Messi, the captain of the Argentine team, who scored a goal in regular time, scored a goal in extra time and scored a penalty in the shootout.
Families made up of parents who carried their children on their shoulders and carried the Argentine flag until exhaustion. Older people, some moved in wheelchairs, also joined in the festivities with participants playing bugles and drums.
The streets of other Argentine cities were filled with people. Many people formed circles to celebrate, others left in cars decorated with Argentine flags to celebrate the victory. The flags of the country were also hanging from the balconies of the houses.
This Sunday’s match was expected to be even higher than the tournament in Brazil eight years ago, when the defeat against Germany came in extra time.
The team’s highly acclaimed performance during the World Cup in Qatar united the population with an unusual joy in a country affected by one of the worst inflation rates in the world and rising poverty.