Outside a car wash in La Paternal neighborhood of Buenos Aires, home to Diego Maradona’s first football club, Adrian Lioy, 24, sat slumped in a plastic chair. Obviously, he had expected a different outcome, and his reaction was severe.
“In the next game they have to change all the players. They need a better coach,” he said. “It was like the players were asleep.”
Nearby, Liliana Merce, 65, was sweeping leaves in front of her Maradona-themed restaurant. “What a disgrace,” she said.
She and her husband, Claudio Merce, were indignant about the would-be goals that were counted offside. “They played very well, and it’s unjust what they did,” she said of the game’s referees. “Argentines want to be happy, but we want to be happy winning properly. I don’t think they should have discounted those goals. We should have won.”
Merce, 64, concurred, blaming the calls on more sophisticated technology that, he said, takes something away from the essence of the game.
“Modernization changed everything,” he said. “Those were goals our whole lives. Now because of technology, because of an arm,” they aren’t, he added.
Yet he said the loss did not change his expectations for the World Cup. “We were all super excited because we’re coming off a 20-something string of victories but football is football,” he said. “Messi did what he could. But they’re going to figure it out.”
Adrian Inzaurralde, 24, got up early to watch the game at a friend’s house with yerba mate and pastries. Afterward, walking home quietly, he said he had felt “deceived.”
“Basically they fell asleep,” he said. “We have to set our mind on the next game. Because if our head gets stuck in this one, we’re going to feel worse, and it’s just going to get worse for us.”