The Argentina parade on Tuesday to celebrate the World Cup champions was cut short due to total chaos flooding the streets of Buenos Aires, the country’s capital.
There wasn’t an empty piece of asphalt or grass on the streets, as thousands came out to witness Lionel Messi & Co. travel on a bus to celebrate the country’s first World Cup title since 1986. Argentina has waited a long time to hoist the trophy again, especially with Messi playing in his final World Cup in 2022.
It’s a wondrous occasion that unfortunately turned a bit ugly. Video showed that Argentine supporters were jumping from a bridge to try to get on the bus with the players.
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The crowd got too wild, to the point where security forces advised the team to fly out of the parade via helicopter for safety.
“The world champions are flying over the whole route on helicopters because it was impossible to continue by land due to the explosion of people’s happiness,” Gabriela Cerruti, the spokesperson for President Alberto Fernández , wrote via social media.
The helicopters hovered over the capital where the massive crowd could look up and wave instead of waiting for the much-closer bus tour.
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Argentine Football Association head Claudio Tapia blamed law enforcement for the change in the parade’s plans.
“The same security organisms that were escorting us are not allowing us to move forward,” Tapia wrote on social media. “I apologize in the name of all the champion players.”
This moment for Argentina means everything to its people, though, which is why the crowds were so massive. The country has been through rough economic times, with The Associated Press saying that inflation rates have created a situation where 4-in-10 people live in poverty.
Argentines were so prepared for this parade that they camped out by the Obelisk, the large Buenos Aires landmark, knowing the team bus would be headed through there. President Fernandez also declared Tuesday a national holiday, so everyone could celebrate across the country – not just in its capital.
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It was one of the best matches in World Cup history, as Messi and France’s Kylian Mbappe – two superstars from two different generations – battled all the way to penalty shootouts, where Argentina won 4-2.
Messi scored twice, once on a penalty kick for the first goal of the match and the other coming in extra time to give Argentina a 3-2 lead. But Mbappe scored twice late in the second half to tie the match and force extra time, before burying his second penalty kick to tie it again at three apiece.
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In the end, some clutch saves from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for Argentina, as well as no Argentine player missing their penalty kicks on Hugo Lloris of France, gave Messi that elusive World Cup victory with his country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.