Wednesday Feb 1, 2023
Wednesday Feb 1, 2023

Argentina breathes collective sigh of relief after victory


Nepalnews
AP
2022 Nov 27, 8:30, BUENOS AIRES
Supporters from Argentina celebrate outside Lusail Stadium following their team's 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup group C soccer match in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

Luciana Medina was so nervous that she could barely sleep the night before Saturday’s match between Argentina and Mexico which could have all but knocked the soccer-mad South American country from the World Cup.

After the game, she couldn’t stop smiling.

Argentines breathed a collective sigh of relief Saturday afternoon as the country obtained a decisive 2-0 victory over Mexico dissipating doubts that had emerged about Lionel Messi’s team after the shock loss against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. That loss had sent the country almost into a state of national mourning.

María del Carmen Martínez, 60, said she was “very tense” when she arrived at a plaza in Buenos Aires to watch the match on giant screens.

Manuel Gauto, 21, agreed he saw a different team on the field than the one that fell before Saudi Arabia.

Argentina's soccer fans react at the end of their team's match against Mexico at the World Cup, hosted by Qatar, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)
Argentina's soccer fans react at the end of their team's match against Mexico at the World Cup, hosted by Qatar, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

The mood was completely different in Mexico City, where thousands had gathered in bars and plazas to follow the match only to be left disappointed by their team’s performance.

There were long periods of silence in Mexico City’s Revolution Square as fans found few moments to celebrate.

In Buenos Aires, the tension was almost palpable as thousands gathered on a hot summer day to watch the decisive game, and an eerie silence fell over the crowd throughout the first half as neither side obtained a goal and doubts once again crept in about the team long thought to be one of the favorites to win the World Cup.

All that pent up energy made the crowd explode in jubilation when Messi scored the first goal.

Supporters of Argentina celebrate outside Lusail Stadium following their team's 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup group C soccer match in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)
Supporters of Argentina celebrate outside Lusail Stadium following their team's 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup group C soccer match in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

Karen Veliz, a 36-year-old accountant, went to watch the match with her family and friends, but found it hard to have fun at first.

Argentines had been eagerly awaiting the World Cup, counting on the tournament to shift the mood of a country that has been economically stagnant for years, is suffering one of the world’s highest inflation rates and where close to four in 10 live in poverty.

Matías Stamm, a 26-year-old programmer, said he felt much lighter after what he described as “a very complicated week because we came from a very positive streak and then fell in the first game of the Cup.”

Many fans were particularly frustrated at Tuesday’s loss against Saudi Arabia, a match seemingly everyone expected Argentina to win, given the team’s 36-game unbeaten streak leading up to the tournament.

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