Argentina win sparks Buenos Aires street party

“We could have won it comfortably, but we were forced to suffer, like always,” said Rogelio Vazquez, an Argentine fan.

“But the suffering makes the win all the more enjoyable.”

Nerves were running high as the two teams took to penalty kicks after extra time.

Messi easily scored for Argentina, followed by a goal from France’s Kylian Mbappe. Two more goals from Argentina and two unsuccessful shots from France meant the next goal would finish the game.

Some Argentines hung their heads, others prayed.

The final penalty kick from Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel caused the ball to sail neatly into the net.

Shouting, jumping and spraying their drinks into the air, incredulous Argentines erupted in cheers as the team clinched the win. Some, hugging friends and family, were even brought to tears.

“Dibu (Martinez), Messi, the whole team, I love them,” said Jonathan Heredia, his voice hoarse from cheering. “I feel like they made me cry, I wanted this more than anything.”

Huge crowds surrounded the Obelisco monument in the centre of Buenos Aires, like they had done after the semi-final win over Croatia. Other fans leaned out the side of cars waving flags and jerseys as they rode through the streets.

Argentine soccer fans celebrate their team’s World Cup victory over France, in Buenos Aires.

Argentine soccer fans celebrate their team’s World Cup victory over France, in Buenos Aires.Credit:AP

“It is an immense joy after so much tension,” Nicolas Piry, a 46-year-old lawyer, told Reuters.

“The harmony between the team, headed by a leader who plays at a level making him the best in the world, and the players’ condition in general led us to this well-deserved success. Let’s go Argentina!”

Messi, 35, scored in the first half and then again in extra time, while Angel Di Maria scored the other for Argentina. Mbappe, 23, scored all three French goals before the shootout.

Argentine soccer fans descend on Buenos Aires’ Obelisk to celebrate their team’s World Cup victory over France.

Argentine soccer fans descend on Buenos Aires’ Obelisk to celebrate their team’s World Cup victory over France.Credit:AP

The final win cements Messi’s status as a legend among Argentines, with Sunday’s match expected to be his last appearance in a World Cup for his country.

Reuters

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