Argentina team returns home after winning World Cup

So many fans flocked to the capital that the players had to leave the open-air bus that took them to Buenos Aires and board helicopters instead.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A parade celebrating Argentina’s world champion was abruptly cut short on Tuesday as millions of people poured onto thoroughfares, highways and overpasses in a chaotic attempt to catch a glimpse of the national team that won one of the biggest World Cup finals any times.

So many cheering, flag-waving fans streamed through the capital that the players had to exit the open-air bus that took them to Buenos Aires and board helicopters to fly over the capital in what the government called an air parade.

“The world champions fly over the entire route in helicopters because it was impossible to continue by land due to the explosion of joy from the people,” wrote Gabriela Cerruti, spokeswoman for President Alberto Fernández, on social media.

After overflying key points of Buenos Aires where fans had gathered, the helicopters returned to the Argentine Football Federation’s headquarters outside the capital.

Some fans continued to celebrate in the streets, while others left Buenos Aires with long faces, complaining that they were unable to pay tribute to the team that brought home the country’s first World Cup trophy since 1986.

“It’s crazy, it’s indescribable,” said Brian Andreassi, 23, as he walked through the city center in the team’s jersey. “There are no words for that.”

The World Cup and the success of Messi’s squad have brought much-needed good news to a country that has been in an economic doldrums for years, suffers from one of the highest inflation rates in the world and where almost 4 in 10 people live in poverty.

“There is a tremendous unity among all Argentines – unity, happiness. It’s like breathing different air, there’s a different energy in the air,” said Victoria Roldán. “My body and my heart are about to burst.”

Wearing a replica World Cup, the 32-year-old made her way downtown with her sister Mariana as they tried to find the best spot to catch a glimpse of the team and their captain in particular.

“We go where they say Leo will be because we really want to see him,” Roldán said. “Seeing him with that immense smile, with those bright eyes full of hope, really fills our hearts with joy and happiness. We are very happy that this country is enjoying this happiness and I think Leo has deserved it for years and this was his moment.”

The players all smiled as they watched the crowd gather to see them, many trying to get as close to the bus as possible. According to local media, citing police sources, an estimated 4 million people were on the streets as of Tuesday afternoon.

Celebrating fans took over highways, avenues and the approaches to the capital as temperatures soared to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

“We’re angry because the government didn’t organize this properly so that we could all celebrate,” said Diego Benavídez, 25, who had been waiting to see the team since early morning. “They stole the World Cup from us.”

However, others accepted it.

“I’m not disappointed, we lived the party,” said Nicolás López, 33, who was in downtown Buenos Aires with his 7-year-old daughter.

Football Association chief Claudio Tapia blamed law enforcement for the change of plan. “The same security organs that escorted us do not allow us to advance,” Tapia wrote on social media. “I apologize on behalf of all master players.”

The bus had cruised through the crowds at a snail’s pace for more than four hours before the interstate parade was called off. Team captain Lionel Messi and the rest of the players waved to the huge crowd as they carried up the World Cup trophy after securing the country’s third title.

“It’s crazy, it’s indescribable,” said Brian Andreassi, 23, as he walked through the city center in the team’s jersey. “There are no words for that.”

The World Cup and the success of Messi’s side brought much-needed good news to a country that has been in an economic doldrums for years, suffers from one of the highest rates of inflation in the world and where nearly 4 in 10 people live in poverty.

“There is a tremendous unity among all Argentines – unity, happiness. It’s like breathing different air, there’s a different energy in the air,” said Victoria Roldán. “My body and my heart are about to burst.”

Wearing a replica World Cup, the 32-year-old and her 36-year-old sister Mariana were keen to get a glimpse of the team and their captain Messi in particular.

“We really want to see him,” said Roldán. “Seeing him with that huge smile, with those bright eyes full of hope, really fills our hearts with joy and happiness. … I think Leo deserved his years, and this was his moment.”

The players all smiled as they watched the crowd gather to see them, many trying to get as close to the bus as possible. According to local media, citing police sources, an estimated 4 million people were on the streets as of Tuesday afternoon.

Celebrating fans took over highways, avenues and the approaches to the capital as temperatures soared to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Thousands had set up camp at the obelisk, the Buenos Aires landmark that is traditionally the site of celebrations, since early Tuesday morning.

“We’re a little disoriented because we don’t know the bus route and a little frustrated because we’ve traveled so many kilometers and may not be able to see it,” said Giselle Pisani, 34, who walked 350 kilometers (220 miles). with her family from the city of Olavarria.

The Argentine President has declared Tuesday a national holiday so that the country can celebrate the World Cup victory.

The song “Muchachos,” which was written by a fan and became a popular unofficial anthem for the Argentina team at the World Cup, filled the streets as fans sang it over and over again.

Some fans also paid tribute to Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, captain of the team that won the 1986 World Cup and died two years ago, with flags bearing his name and face. “This is for Diego seeing it from the sky,” the fans chanted.

“It’s a party. The last time Argentina was champion I was 3 years old, I don’t remember anything,” said Yael Torchinsky, 39. “I want to live this intensely because the Argentine people need this happiness.”

In the afternoon, fans began to fill the Plaza de Mayo in front of the government building amid rumors that players might go there to repeat the celebrations for Argentina’s 1986 World Cup victory that were taking place there. The Fernández government had offered the palatial mansion popularly known as the Casa Rosada, or Pink House, according to Security Minister Aníbal Fernández.

The rousing reception for the team began before dawn as thousands of fans lined up to greet them on their return from Qatar.

Beaming, the players stepped off their plane onto a red carpet in Ezeiza, just outside the Argentine capital just before 3am. Messi was the first to carry the World Cup trophy, flanked by coach Lionel Scaloni, who put his arm around the captain as they passed a sign that read ‘Thank you, champions’.

The team was greeted with “Muchachos” by rock band La Mosca, and several players, including Messi, chanted the words as they boarded the bus that took them to the Argentine Football Federation’s headquarters.

The bus took an hour to travel the 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from the airport to AFA headquarters, where the players were greeted with fireworks, and then spent the night. In the morning, Messi posted a photo on social media showing him hugging the World Cup trophy next to him in his sleep.

Several players have also posted photos from the plane ride on social media. In one, Nicolás Tagliafico posted a picture of the World Cup trophy strapped into an airplane seat as if it were just another passenger.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/argentina-team-return-home-after-world-cup/507-16f1a281-c5c8-45e2-b5c7-cf487d49a401 Argentina team returns home after winning World Cup

Emma Bowman

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