Thousands of jubilant supporters greeted Lionel Messi and his World Cup-winning teammates in Buenos Aires before dawn on Tuesday. Argentina’s thrilling triumph over France in Sunday’s final in Qatar gave the country its first World Cup win since Diego Maradona 36 years ago. The players waved to fans from an open-top bus as mobile phone lights sparkled and flags fluttered in the crowd.
Argentina’s World Cup victors are greeted as heroes
The bus steadily passed through the crowd as people sang and pyrotechnics filled the sky. Thousands followed Aerolineas Argentinas AR1915 from Doha to Rome. The players will spend a few hours at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) facilities near the airport before traveling to the Obeliso monument in the city’s center at midday. Messi scored twice as Argentina overcame France 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw.
Kylian Mbappe scored three times for France. Messi, 35, plans to play a few more games for Argentina after the World Cup final. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni will keep Messi’s shirt ready in case the talismanic captain wants to play at the next World Cup after ending the country’s 36-year wait.
Messi scored twice and again in the shootout to lead Argentina to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over France on Sunday. The match ended 3-3 after 120 minutes of action. Many feared Messi, 35, wouldn’t play for Argentina again after winning the World Cup. Messi said he won’t retire from international duty soon.
“After (we beat) Brazil, I had a conversation with Messi… (and explained) we had a big task in-front of us, people from our country were starting to believe (in our World Cup chances), to hope, and pressure was rising,” said Scaloni.