Gasps gave method to stony expressions of disbelief, after which tears, as Argentina followers gathered in Buenos Aires watched the humiliation of their soccer staff unfold on the World Cup in Qatar. “It was a walloping, a bucket of ice-cold water,” Carlos Cuera, 26, stated of the 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. He was nonetheless seated in entrance of a restaurant tv the place followers decked out of their staff’s white-and-blue colours gathered from earlier than 7:00 am for the breakfast match within the Argentine capital. “No one anticipated this. We thought the primary three matches could be simple victories, and now it has change into extra difficult,” he stated, including the loss had ramped up strain forward of Saturday’s duel with Mexico.
It was one of many biggest upsets in World Cup historical past for Lionel Messi’s Argentina facet, ending a successful streak that included final yr’s Copa America championship. The proud, football-crazed nation entered the World Cup among the many favorites, eight years after they reached the ultimate.
However Buenos Aires rapidly resumed its regular hustle and bustle as desolate followers headed to their workplaces. In central Corrientes Road, not removed from town’s towering Obelisk, one cafe had arrange a display screen on the sidewalk, prompting deliverymen, taxis, and even bus drivers to sluggish as they handed — hoping for one more aim.
Pilates teacher Lena Widgren, 50, stated she had heard it will be “a straightforward sport.” However she had observed that at any time when Argentina is confronted with a tie or a loss in a World Cup match, “their power ranges drop a bit, they lack fireplace.”
The day began higher than it ended. Followers leaped from their chairs, screaming with pleasure, when Messi scored from the penalty spot within the tenth minute. “I really feel very unhappy, actually. The sport began with such euphoria, with a lot need to win, and all of a sudden the sport circled,” stated Llanca Salvi, a 26-year-old plastic artist, who added that she didn’t know a lot about soccer.
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However it was about “the emotion of being Argentine, of going out to rejoice”.
Second half of ‘terror’
Followers joined in with a cascade of insults when three first-half objectives had been canceled for being offside, with VAR concerned. Norberto Protzmann instructed AFP he sat in “terror” throughout the second half.
“We underestimated them a bit an excessive amount of and so they dominated us within the second half,” he stated.
“The gamers had been too assured, whereas the rival staff put their lives into every transfer, as a result of they knew they had been dealing with an important staff. And it labored properly for them.”
Gustavo Leal, 75, complained about the usage of VAR, saying, “soccer with expertise is now not soccer”.
“This World Cup wants (Diego) Maradona,” he stated, referring to the Argentine nice who died in 2020.
However he remained optimistic. “The primary match is as arduous because the final. I belief him,” he stated of coach Lionel Scaloni, including he was a “measured man who is aware of how you can lead the staff”.
Now, all eyes are on Saturday’s sport in opposition to Mexico, to see whether or not the staff can flip their fortunes round.
“Mexico is a really troublesome staff and it has all the time been troublesome for Argentina,” stated Protzmann. “If we do not put our lives into every play, we can’t win, particularly in opposition to Mexico.”
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