Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina subdued as World Cup hopes dashed

Argentine soccer fans watch a broadcast of their team playing Germany on a large screen setup in Plaza San Martin during the World Cup final in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 13 July 2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There was sadness and disappointment, but no anger, in Buenos Aires as Argentina lost

Nothing quite matches the impact of sporting disappointment, of losing a big final.

Throughout the day, excitement had been building in Buenos Aires. It seemed that all of those Argentine fans who hadn't made the journey north to Rio were descending on the Plaza San Martin in the heart of capital.

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Media captionWyre Davies reports from Plaza San Martin where 70,000 fans watched the match

The mood was upbeat and positive; they really believed their team could win.

In the run up to kick off, tens of thousands of fans crammed into the square. There was absolutely no space.

Even the trees became vantage points as supporters climbed into the branches for a better view.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People climbed up trees to watch the game on the big screens as Plaza San Martin was crammed with fans
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hopes of a victory rose as the game progressed, until Germany scored during extra-time

There must have been hundreds of people down in the crowd who saw nothing or very little of the action on either of the two big screens.

Two hours later, the park was a sea of mud, empty beer cans and dashed hopes.

But there is no anger in Argentina tonight.

Unlike the host nation, Brazil, who've had a disastrous tournament on the pitch, Argentina have exceeded expectations and came very close to winning their third World Cup title.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Despite the defeat, captain Lionel Messi will be warmly received on his return to Buenos Aires

Some television pundits concluded that it wasn't a great final, but in the thick of the crowd here in Buenos Aires there'd been a growing sense of belief as the game progressed that Argentina might just win.

But, ultimately the best and most complete team won. Few Argentinian fans I spoke to after the game argued with that.

The squad and their inspirational captain, Lionel Messi, will get a well deserved reception when they arrive home in the capital later on Monday but, having come so close, it will be a subdued occasion - a case of "if only".

That's sport. That is the disappointment of losing a final. But Argentina should be in a great position to compete for the title again when the World Cup moves to Russia in four years' time.

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