Argentina Beats Greece, Advances to Next Round

22 Jun

TITAN. Palermo sella el 2-0 y desata la locura en Polokwane.  (AFP)This afternoon Argentina played Greece in the World Cup, and the entire country had permission to leave the office or stop working at 3:30 pm. With my coworkers I went to Plaza San Martin near our office, following the excited crowds to where a Fan Zone and giant screen were set up. Unfortunately we left too late and by the time we got there, the crowds were out of control and we couldn’t get a spot anywhere. Through the mess we lost two from out group and had to continue without them. For some reason I was put in charge of the mate, a big responsibility on my shoulders. But as Vero said when we walked over, “You’re one of us now.” That was just the kind of compliment I needed.

Those who were left scrambled to find a place to watch, and we eventually settled on Pancho’s, a little hot dog bar inside a strip mall off of Florida Street. It wasn’t the ideal place, but at least they had HDTV and it wasn’t too packed. We crammed into the back and leaned against the bar side by side. Tension was high because winning would seal the deal and allow Argentina to advance to the elimination round, though a tie didn’t necessarily guarantee anything.

After halftime with no score, we busted out the mate, though only myself and two others were drinking it. All that work for nothing, but at least it made me feel a bit more Argentinian. Right towards the end of the game Argentina scored two goals to seal the victory. The excitement was kind of thrown off because another store was getting their feed a few seconds before us, meaning that when the goals were scored, we could hear the cheers just before we saw what happened. Still, excitement was high, and after the game ended we slowly walked back to the office for another hour of work.

It was amazing going back into the street and seeing how dead everything was. The entire country literally shuts down during these soccer games. Little leaflets coated the street and the far off sounds of honking horns and cheering crowds moving closer towards the center would alert even the most clueless of visitors that something big was going down. Argentina’s victory means that they will now advance to play Mexico on Sunday at 6:30 pm, Buenos Aires time. I kind of wish the game was during the week because it’s been really exciting to see everyone around and cheerful for the games, not to mention getting out of work for a couple of hours. With elimination being the name of the game now, I can’t wait to see just how much more intense this city can get.

Photo courtesy of Clarin

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