Buenos Aires: At the obelisk where Argentines traditionally gather to celebrate victories, people cried and buried their faces in their hands as they came to terms with the national team’s humiliating 4-0 World Cup quarterfinal loss to Germany.
Many thought this was Argentina’s year, with football legend Diego Maradona as coach and champion Lionel Messi leading the attack. But Germany utterly dominated Saturday’s game at Cape Town and ended Argentina’s run.
A large crowd watched on a huge screen at the obelisk in Buenos Aires.
“Pathetic” is how student Christopher Barrezueta described the result.
“It’s humiliating. A disaster. Terrible,” Barrezueta said, shaking his head as police cleared the streets. “Bad, bad, bad.”
Juan Alberto Urquiza hid his face in an Argentine flag as Germany scored its fourth goal, shocked at how powerless his heroes proved to be in the end.
“They were so much better,” he said. “Argentina couldn’t do anything.”
But unlike many Argentine fans, Urquiza refused to lay blame on Messi, who failed to score a single goal in the tournament, or on the team’s love-him-or-hate-him coach, Maradona.
Drummers kept pounding and fans chanted “Let’s go, Let’s go Argentina,” long after the final score. But Argentines who had planned a long night of partying couldn’t hide their dejection as they streamed home.
“I thought this would be our World Cup. With Messi, Maradona, the best players in the world - but the Cup is something else entirely,” said 21-year-old Mariano Fiaschi.
This time, Argentina’s passion didn’t make up for an inability to penetrate the German defense, he said. “Germany is a team that doesn’t shine - it’s all business - and that works out well for them,” Fiaschi said.
Argentina’s fans were counting on nothing less than a world championship,” Fiaschi said. “The people here turn on their teams too quickly - they flip like pancakes. When things go well, they rise up, and when they go bad, they hide, they bury themselves.”
But Cesar Yurquina, who wore a team jersey with Messi’s name and number to watch the game, refused to blame his hero.
“The whole team also played badly, not just Messi,” he said. “Our only consolation is that Brazil went out before us!”