Blue and white euphoria grips Buenos Aires after Argentina’s World Cup win

More than a million people were in the streets of Buenos Aires celebrating the victory, according to estimates from authorities

Around the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, revellers in football shirts, hats, wigs and face-paint in the Argentinian colours danced long into the night to drums and sound systems blaring cumbia and reggaeton.

Young people climbed fences, light posts and the giant BA sign at the foot of the monument. It was an ecstatic tribute to a World Cup victory this country had been waiting for ever since this football-mad nation last carried the trophy home in 1986.

A giant football shirt hung from the facade of the Teatro Colón, on the central Avenida 9 de Julio. Parents asked friends to take pictures of babies in tiny Messi shirts to mark this momentous occasion for when their children – too young to remember – grow up.

More than a million people were in the streets of Buenos Aires celebrating the victory, according to estimates from the Argentinian authorities.

It was a scene that played out across the city, with impromptu parties even breaking out at bus stops as fans making their way back out to the suburbs waited for buses they were too euphoric to realise weren’t running.

“Coming to Argentina during the World Cup was the best decision I’ve done in my entire life!” said Tomás Kuklis, who had moved back home from New York so he could watch the World Cup with his family.

Argentinians celebrate after team wins World Cup on Sunday.
Argentinians celebrate after team wins World Cup on Sunday. Photograph: Tomás Cuesta/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, Argentinians were bleary-eyed but still buoyed by the victory. The national football team are due in Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini airport at around 2am on Tuesday morning, arriving on a special Aerolíneas Argentinas flight with the team’s image 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.

Such vast crowds are expected to flock to the airport to see them home that buses that would normally run along the highway into central Buenos Aires are reportedly being put on diversion. Many social media users have been calling on President Alberto Fernández to decree 20 December a public holiday, with “Alberto decree” trending on Twitter after the team’s victory.

“Always together, always united. WE’RE WORLD CHAMPIONS! There are no more words. THANK YOU, Argentina,” Fernández tweeted after the game.

For many Argentinians, Lionel Messi leading his team to victory has sealed his place at Maradona’s side in the pantheon of the footballing gods. “Messi has taken history by storm and won devotion, gratitude and eternity,” was the headline in the broadsheet La Nación. The team captain, who is 35, has said that this World Cup will be his last, but on Sunday, with the World Cup trophy cradled in his arm, he told reporters that he would like to keep playing on the national team for the time being.

Argentinians celebrate World Cup title in Buenos Aires.
Argentinians celebrate World Cup title in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, presented Messi with a traditional bisht robe before he lifted the cup. The gesture was interpreted as a great gesture of respect on both sides.

Amid the riotous joy of car horns, music and whooping, several fans wore T-shirts, caps and signs with their new favourite Messi quote: “Qué mirás bobo? Andá para allá bobo!”. (What are you looking at, dummy? Get lost, dummy!) The phrase is from the tournament’s infamously scrappy quarter-final match with the Netherlands: as he came off the pitch, Messi was giving an interview in the tunnel when he caught the Dutch striker Wout Weghorst giving him the stink eye, and made the comment live on air. His take-no-nonsense attitude went viral instantly.

Roars of support poured in from across Latin America, with football lovers across the region ecstatic that the trophy had gone, if not to them, then at least to their regional neighbours. “Argentina’s victory is the victory for the Great Homeland”, tweeted the Bolivian president, Luis Arce, using the phrase which describes the ideal of a shared regional community of Spanish-speaking Americans.

Fans of Argentina celebrate.
Fans of Argentina celebrate. Photograph: Tomás Cuesta/AFP/Getty Images

“Football is so beautiful,” added the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric. “A giant hug to our Argentinian 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, city police had tallied just 17 arrests by Monday morning, according to local media.

In the streets of San Telmo, a truck passed by, full of men several litres of Quilmes beer in. A man in a blue and white boiler suit thumped the car roof in anger at a perceived slight, looking for a moment like he might start something.

But then, voices of revellers all around swelled like a tide. “Come on man – be happy,” they said. “We won!”


Amy Booth in Buenos Aires

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Saudi Arabia declares public holiday to mark World Cup win over Argentina
Region rejoices as Saudi team ‘writes history’ against South American powerhouse in group stage

Martin Chulov Middle East correspondent and Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

22, Nov, 2022 @4:55 PM

Article image
‘Your life depends on whether Argentina wins’: Buenos Aires at fever pitch as Messi’s team face France
In the capital, where Maradona is worshipped as a god, World Cup victory would take on a spiritual dimension

Amy Booth in Buenos Aires

18, Dec, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
‘Like paradise’: Argentina erupts in celebration of World Cup win
Streets of central Buenos Aires are a cacophony of yelling and horns after shootout victory against France

Amy Booth in Buenos Aires

18, Dec, 2022 @8:03 PM

Article image
World Cup 2014: Pride and devastation among the crowds of Buenos Aires

Giant Argentinian flag carried through city centre celebrating team's fight against Germany as youths clash with police

Uki Goni in Buenos Aires

13, Jul, 2014 @11:17 PM

Gay World Cup: Gay World Cup kicks off in Buenos Aires
Gay World Cup: 'Gay-friendly' Buenos Aires plays host to the Gay World Cup, where 28 teams will go for glory.

Ian Mount in Buenos Aires

24, Sep, 2007 @10:53 PM

Article image
Broken promises of Buenos Aires Zoo after mysterious deaths of animals
After it was announced in 2016 the zoo would become an ecopark, 119 animals have died, leaving activists to feel little has changed

Elizabeth Sulis Kim in Buenos Aires

31, Jul, 2018 @6:30 AM

Article image
Shortages, fury and the hunt for Messi: Argentina’s Panini sticker mania forces government to step in
With the football World Cup in Qatar just weeks away, parents are threatening to sue because of the anguish caused by the cards’ scarcity

Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires

08, Oct, 2022 @2:32 PM

Article image
Fear and loathing in Buenos Aires: will Argentina’s IMF gamble pay off? | Larry Elliott
Argentina’s president and IMF leave troubled relationship behind to shore up peso – but people have long memories

Larry Elliott

09, May, 2018 @5:18 PM

Article image
Blue day for Brazil’s yellow-shirted fans after shock World Cup exit
Supporters back home left stunned as Seleçao’s bid for a sixth world title ends in penalty shootout loss to Croatia

Andrew Downie in São Paulo

09, Dec, 2022 @8:45 PM

Article image
‘You can’t begrudge Messi’: Parisians react as France lose World Cup final
Patrons of French capital’s bars go through gamut of emotions as Argentina eventually win out on penalties

Jon Henley in Paris

18, Dec, 2022 @7:04 PM