Argentina fans clash with riot police in a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires following the World Cup final. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
Argentine riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to
break up dozens of rock-hurling youths in central Buenos
Aires after the nation's hopes of a first World Cup win in 28
years were dashed by Germany in the final.
Parents clutching their children ran away from the iconic
Obelisk monument where tens of thousands of people had
gathered, as the rowdy youths taunted police officers and
tried to kick down the metal grills on some shop fronts,
television pictures showed.
At least 15 police officers were wounded and more than 50
people detained in the unrest that followed the 1-0 defeat,
local media reported.
Germany forward Mario Goetze's volley in extra-time stunned
local fans into silence and after the final minutes ticked
down, millions of disconsolate Argentines were left to
contemplate a defeat that deprived them of a first World Cup
win since 1986.
"It's another slap in the face. There is no more joy, but we
came out second and were not shamed in Brazil," said
40-year-old Eduardo Manfredi.
The hopes of 40 million people had been heaped on the
shoulders of the national side - in particular Lionel Messi,
who picked up the 'Golden Ball' as top player of the
tournament, and in-form goal keeper Sergio Romero.
Hours before the game started, fans in the soccer-obsessed
capital streamed along the city's boulevards blowing vuvuzela
horns and banging drums, while some even dressed up their
pampered pooches in soccer strips tailor-made for dogs.
The run to the 2014 final handed Argentines welcome respite
from newspaper headlines dominated in recent weeks by a
brewing debt crisis, surging inflation and political scandal.
"I'm full of grief, it's hard to explain," lamented
56-year-old carpenter Luis Lanzzoni.
Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano said he shared the
"We are gutted," he said. "We gave what we could and we are
sorry for the people who came and for the people in
"QUITE SIMPLY, THANK YOU"
The violence in downtown Buenos Aires soured what had been a
Tens of thousands of supporters had earlier streamed to the
Obelisk monument waving the national flag, determined to
party in celebration of reaching the final on the turf of
their arch-rivals, Brazil.
Fans climbed onto bus stops and scaled lamp posts as chants
of "Argentina, Argentina" rang out, while fireworks exploded
In a country polarised by a decade of politics under the
populist president Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor,
Fernandez's late husband Nestor Kirchner, the national soccer
team is a rare unifier.
"I feel proud to be Argentine. To wear this shirt on the day
of a final is priceless," said university student Marcelo
Dailoff. "The players brought joy to Argentina after so long.
Quite simply, thank you."
Fans took comfort from seeing their side avoid the same kind
of humiliating score inflicted on hosts Brazil. Germany
thumped seven goals past a hapless Brazilian team in their
Messi and his team-mates were expected to arrive back in
Buenos Aires on Monday.
"The players put everything into the game, their hearts and
souls. They lost the best way possible, not like Brazil who
were smashed to smithereens," said 32-year-old Lorena Hak.
"I'm going to the airport to welcome them home and thank them
for everything, they deserve it."