Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

Argentina fans shocked but still dreaming of World Cup glory

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AFP, Russia :
It was the morning after the night before for Argentinian fans in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday and the recriminations from the devastating Croatia defeat just hours earlier were well underway.
The realisation that the 3-0 thumping by Croatia - complete with comedy first goal - had left the mighty two-time winners on the verge of a humiliating exit, left some of their fans in tears.
On Friday, many remained stunned by what had happened.
"We can't sleep, we can't talk, we can't do anything," said Sebastian, a 34-year-old lawyer who had travelled to Russia from Rosario.
"We've never seen anything like last night."
The team, he said, had shown no "huevos", using the Spanish slang for testicles.
Susi, a grandmother from Buenos Aires who spent an eye-watering $40,000 taking her son and grandson to Russia, said the result was so bad it could have implications for Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, as he battles economic problems at home.
"If Argentina loses, it can become a social problem," she said.
The defeat was arguably the most shocking result of the tournament so far.
A team thought among the favourites for the World Cup, with superstar Lionel Messi as captain, were not expected to struggle through the first stage.
They certainly weren't expected to play so badly.
The result was Argentina's worst at a World Cup since being dismantled by Johan Cruyff's "Total Football" Dutch side 4-0 on a thundery night in West Germany back in 1974.
Nor were Argentina meant to rely on the results of Iceland or Nigeria just to remain in Russia.

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