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A personal account: the night Argentina lost
La gente en Argentina celebran en las calles a pesar de su derrota ante Alemania en la Copa del Mundo de 2014. People in Argentina celebrate in the streets despite their loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup. Photo Berenice Taboada Díaz
La gente en Argentina celebran en las calles a pesar de su derrota ante Alemania en la Copa del Mundo de 2014. People in Argentina celebrate in the streets despite their loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup. Photo Berenice Taboada Díaz

Goal by Mario Götze—Germany: 1; Argentina: 0. At the 113-minute mark, before the end of the World Cup, I thought, “Yuck. The Germans will win.” Ten minutes later the defeat was final. A whole generation waiting for Argentina to win the match, a generation that had never seen their team get to a semi-final, was completely disappointed.

I decided to start travelling around the main venues of the city, waiting to see in the faces of my countrymen my own sense of loss. Surprisingly, most of the Argentine faces didn’t reflect sadness, but joy, honor and pride. Faces were painted in light blue and white, children smiled. The national soccer team’s flags were everywhere. Young, boisterous crowds and families were in the streets cheering for their team, waving at cars, which were honking profusely as they drove downtown while people celebrated and sang our most famous hit: “Brazil, tell me how it feels, to have your Daddy in your house?” They sang our national anthem too—unbelievable.

Filled with this energy, I decided to approach the central monument of Buenos Aires, the Obelisk, where locals traditionally gather to celebrate victory. Of those, more than 900 million viewers worldwide watched the final on television. I bet that on Monday about 50,000 of them turned off their televisions as soon as the game had ended, grabbed their vuvuzela horns, banging drums, cymbals, flags and Argentina shirts, and began walking towards the July 9th Avenue, a street 140 meters wide, more than 8 blocks of which was full of supporters.

Music, soccer chants and fireworks appeared wherever you looked. Despite the sad faces of the players and Messi’s first statement to the national press—“I don´t care about anything; all I wanted was to lift the World Cup!”—the local feeling wasn’t the same. The city was tinged with an air of victory, success and triumph.

But after several hours of festivities, violence and destruction began to appear. And then the police sirens, tear gas and rubber bullets were easy to hear. Within minutes, 70 people were arrested and 15 policemen were injured. Ravaged storefronts and rock-throwing people marred the World Cup finals celebration.

Despite these episodes, which are common outside the stadiums after a painful soccer defeat, this team will be remembered by every Argentinian because, after 24 years, the team reached the final. Beyond the 0-1 score, the players crying and the fact that we have to wait until World Cup Russia 2018 to seek revenge, Argentina can still celebrate a second place finish that will be never forgotten, and Germany can celebrate its fourth world title. Both teams well deserved it.

Story by: Berenice Taboada Diaz