August 2, 2014
Lucky Argentine who obtained a finals ticket talks to the HeraldTuesday, July 15, 2014
Locals greet albiceleste, those abroad take the long way home
Thousands of the 100,000 Argentines who invaded Rio de Janeiro to accompony the Argentine side through the 2014 World Cup final against Germany began their long 3,000-kilometre journey home yesterday.
The Argentines, who in the last few days had seemed to have become the majority on the iconic Copacabana beach, could not hide their sadness as they waited in long lines in Rio’s international airport for a flight back home. In order to facilitate the Argentine evacuation of Rio, Brazilian airport authorities authorized a special operation that allowed 17 planes to travel to Buenos Aires in one day. Significantly more than the four or five planes that leave daily for the Argentine capital daily, the operation broke a transit record.
Rio also received a record number of commercial flights from Buenos Aires on the weekend preceding the match at the city’s famous Maracaná stadium, as 12 airplanes landed on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. One of those on board lawyer Nicolas López — who was one of the few lucky Argentines to have obtained a finals ticket on the spur of the moment, forcing him to leave at 4am Sunday morning only to arrive back in Buenos Aires the next day at 6am — recalled the experience in dialogue with the Herald.
“It was a great party, the underdogs got to the end. But the worst was to see our Brazilian brothers wearing German jerseys celebrating each time Argentina lost the ball. It seemed that hatred overcame logic... but no-one will forget the 7 to 1,” said López, referring to Brazil’s loss in the semifinals against Germany.
“Germany had their way with them, and now the whole world is going to struggle to respect them,” he believed. The Argentine was surprised about the amount of violence he saw during his time in Brazil. “An Argentine next to me punched a Brazilian who was celebrating the German’s play.”
Many Argentines had left graffiti on the walls of the Carnival Sambódromo building before they left, he said, including “Maradona is greater than Péle.”
Along with those returning by plane, there was also a record number of long-distance buses travelling to Buenos Aires. Thirty-six buses were scheduled to make the trip back home. Terminal authorities said that the majority of the buses headed toward Argentina were scheduled to leave yesterday afternoon, with many leaving periodically in five-minute intervals.
Some of the first people to arrive back in Buenos Aires was the entire Argentine soccer team, which had been scheduled to visit the Obelisk to celebrate before the event was cancelled due to the security threat linked to Sunday night’s violence in the downtown area of the City after final loss. “We want to clarify that we didn’t go to the Obelisk because nobody was able to guarantee our safety nor the people’s,” said midfielder Javier Mascherano via his Twitter account, shortly after arriving.
— Herald staff