World Cup 2022: How Argentina’s chaotic celebrations unfolded

World Cup 2022: How Argentina’s chaotic celebrations unfolded

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Argentina's bus paradeThe Argentine world champions had to forego an open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires and instead took a helicopter ride over the millions of adoring fans who took to the streets to celebrate

Argentina may just be waking up from its worst hangover of all time – at least judging by the number of revelers on the streets of Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

There’s no denying that Argentina were desperate to bring home the World Cup trophy. The strength of the feeling after every game during the tournament was a testament to the fans’ dedication to celebrating every goal scored.

Argentine pride is multi-layered. Yes, it’s their third World Cup win and that’s an achievement in itself, but it was much more personal – in Lionel Messi they have a soccer star who now rivals their godlike Diego Maradona. How dare he not take home the only trophy he was missing – they wanted it for Leo.

But this is a country that also needed some cheering – a chance to dream, smile, have some fun. Argentina is facing an endless economic crisis and with rising inflation it is getting harder every day. The tournament was an opportunity to switch off and kick back – and wow, did they pull it off.

“We have suffered so much in recent years,” an Argentine told me. “It’s the first time we have something to celebrate.”

Sunday’s celebrations were immense – an impromptu party in central Buenos Aires that was repeated across the country. But Tuesday’s celebrations far overshadowed them. It was, according to the country’s media, the biggest party in the country’s history.

“Now people don’t care if they eat or not,” says another reveler. “When people are happy and cheerful, money doesn’t matter. People like to spend it today.”

Watch: The moment a InNewCL correspondent was surrounded by cheering fans in Buenos Aires

With an estimated five million people on the streets of Buenos Aires, they started early – even at 8am there were dozens of people in their Messi 10 shirts already hopping on the park benches ahead of the event.

It didn’t take long to realize that few people would ever see the parade go by – a small bus carrying the team versus an entire nation clamoring to see it. But that didn’t matter much to most Argentines – it was about the sun, a holiday and the moment – Argentina’s moment.

With so many people crowded around the obelisk in central Buenos Aires, it was clear the parade would never be able to get through the dense crowds. No matter when the parade changed route, people ran to them. As the fighter jets flew by, the revelers cheered. They cheered again as the team exited the bus and took a helicopter to wave to fans from afar.

The team was the reason for the party, but in a way it was just the spark – the Fiesta flame was burning and will burn for a while.

This is a deeply proud but troubled country. Argentines are consistently teased for claiming to be more European than their South American counterparts. But this victory over France made them deeply proud of being South American. That was contagious and has welded the region together – even if it’s short, it’s welcomed.

And like all good parties, they tend to end in chaos – the overexcited fans jumping on the team bus, the drunk Porteños and the piles of rubbish made that clear.

Argentina's bus paradeFans gathered at the obelisk in the Plaza de la Republica in Buenos AiresInNewCL Sport App Banner

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