After a drawn-out game against the Netherlands, the Argentines traded anxiety for jubilation on Friday after a narrow victory propelled their team into the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
On a national holiday and with temperatures soaring high, Argentine fans gathered in homes, bars and public squares to watch their team led by superstar Lionel Messi beat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties.
Next Tuesday, Argentina will play against Croatia, who beat Brazil earlier in the day on penalties as well. This will mean that Argentina are the last remaining teams from the Americas in the competition to win the World Cup.
A fan in a square in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, who watched the match on a giant screen with about 30,000 other fans, said: “Unprecedented madness, I swear, my heart broke, and I could not take it anymore.”
There is still hope for the Argentines that their country will be able to win the World Cup for the third time, after winning the title of the version that was held in their country in 1978 and in Mexico in 1986 when they were led by the late star Diego Maradona.
“Everything happened in that match,” said one fan in Palermo, where fans waved flags with pictures of Messi and Maradona. I was happy and nervous, but I always support the national team.
Another said: We suffered, but we won.