Massive crowds of Argentines poured into the streets of Buenos Aires on Sunday following the country’s victory over France in the World Cup.
Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties in a spectacular final that ended 3-3 after extra time.
“I can’t believe it! It was difficult, but we did it, thanks to Messi,” 13-year-old Santiago told the Reuters news agency.
“It was an incredible game, at times anguishing,” 46-year-old Diego Aburgeily said. “This team made people fall in love with them for the first time in decades.”
Reporting from the streets of Buenos Aires, DW’s Latin America correspondent Nicole Ris described the victory and the celebration as an “emotional earthquake.”
“I can see thousands, and they are celebrating, they are singing, they are dancing,” she said, adding that people were chanting “Messi” in the street.
“At the beginning of the game Argentina fans were really pumped up” as their team took an early lead, she said.
Third title just out of reach for France
The Qatar final was dominated by Argentina and talisman Lionel Messi for most of the game, until France’s Kylian Mbappe scored twice within two minutes and forced extra time. After both Messi and Mbappe scored again in extra time to take the final to penalties, Argentina secured victory in the shootout (4-2).
“We’re disappointed, especially with a finish on penalties,” French fan Loane, 14, told Reuters. “But there were plenty of twists in the game and we thought it was within reach.”
“To come back from a two-goal deficit is incredible,” fellow Les Bleus supporter Romain Balthazar told the agency.
Macron ‘very disappointed’ at loss
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Argentina for their win in Sunday’s final.
“We are first of all very sad, very disappointed,” he told reporters in Qatar.
Macron sought to console Kylian Mbappe and other France players in the locker room, and said he told them that “they made us all immensely proud, and made us all tremble with excitement.”
He praised Mbappe’s”extraordinary” performance and stressed that he is only 24 and has already had the rare experience of playing in two World Cup finals.
The French leader said the players are expected to return to France on Monday and parade down the Champs-Elysees in Paris despite the loss.
Macron has been in Qatar since the semifinal against Morocco.
What did France’s players say?
“We are very disappointed of course, we gave everything. We had to face a lot of obstacles during the competition, we gave up nothing,” French defender Raphael Varane said.
“For an hour we were not in the game. We could have won too. I’m very proud of this group and of being French. We keep our heads high. We came back in this game when it was complicated.
“The Argentines got off to a great start, being aggressive, using all facets of the game. We were a bit reactionary all night,” French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said.