Expectation, emotion, joy, doubts, uncertainty, surprise, fear, tension and finally disappointment…
Buenos Aires, June 22: Expectation, emotion, joy, doubts, uncertainty, surprise, fear, tension and finally disappointment. A lot of disappointment. All that, and in that order, was felt by millions of Argentinians on Thursday as they watched their team beaten 3-0 by Croatia in Russia and almost eliminated from the World Cup. Thousands of fans gathered at the Plaza San Martin in the Retiro neighbourhood, where the city of Buenos Aires installed a giant TV screen to air the live broadcast of the national team. Despite the match being held on a workday, thousands of fans occupied the plaza with hope and excitement minutes before the game started.
As they watched their idols take to the pitch, the fans applauded and, as always, captain Lionel Messi was the most cheered on. As the game progressed the mood changed and their faith in the team gave way to doubts. The mistake by goalkeeper Guillermo ‘Willy’ Caballero, which led Ante Rebic to score the first goal for Croatia, changed everything.
Concern appeared on the faces of those present. The second goal, nine minutes from time, buried hope.
From that moment on, several people decided to return home or go back to work, although there was still time left in the game. The third goal was the final blow and plunged the fans into mourning.
A fan who was interviewed by Efe expressed his frustration specifically over two people: Messi and coach Jorge Sampaoli. “We may have a chance to qualify, but with what happened today, no one can believe that, I felt they did not do anything, Messi took 21 minutes to catch a ball,” Saucedo Sinilo said. Another fan, Ricardo Meres from Mexico, said he was so looking forward to Argentina’s win, together with his large group of friends, but “Argentina lacked patience, became desperate in the second half looking for that goal and was very hasty. Caballero’s mistake sent them down.” IANS