World Cup Homecoming Brings Argentina to a Halt

As Argentina’s national soccer team touched down in Buenos Aires on Tuesday after winning the World Cup, millions of Argentines flocked to greet the players. The government declared their homecoming a national holiday, and the team began a 50-mile victory parade through the capital.

The team toured the city on an open-top bus flanked by security guards, and players were seen beating drums and sipping viajeros, a local drink that combines Coca-Cola with Fernet, an Italian spirit, downed from a cutoff plastic bottle. So many Argentines turned out to welcome the team, at least four million, according to local media, that the parade was stopped early because the streets were overflowing with people. Some fans threw themselves off bridges to try to get into the open-top bus carrying the players, and one supporter died after falling from a monument downtown during celebrations Sunday night.

The tour ended with team members flying across the city in helicopters instead. The celebrations have been constant since Sunday, when Argentina won its third World Cup title. The night of the victory, more than a million people streamed into Avenida 9 de Julio, in the heart of the capital, chanting songs, blaring car horns and setting off fireworks.

Here are scenes from what may be the biggest open-air party in Buenos Aires’s history.

— Ana Lankes

Lionel Messi and his teammates rode an open-top bus toward the Obelisk, and at every step they were surrounded by thousands of fans.

Millions of fans paralyzed Buenos Aires, forcing several changes to the parade route and the team’s eventual abandonment of it.

The national team members took turns holding the trophy, as they sang, drank and waved flags throughout the parade.

Millions of people celebrated in Buenos Aires after Argentina’s national team delivered the country’s third World Cup victory.

Leandro Paredes held the World Cup trophy aloft, as he and his teammates sang with supporters along the parade route.

The Obelisk at the center of Buenos Aires, which commemorates the founding of the city, was so full of fans that the parade organizers had to make a last-minute change.

Fans around the Obelisk climbed onto everything that could hold them, including street lamps and the awnings above bus stations.

Seated on the back of the bus, Lionel Messi and his teammates started the journey from the Ezeiza training center to downtown Buenos Aires shortly before noon on Tuesday.

Accompanied by trumpets, drums or sometimes nothing at all, Argentina supporters have been singing since the start of the final match on Sunday.

Images of Messi alongside the legendary Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona were unfurled throughout the capital.

The caravan advanced slowly through densely packed crowds almost from the start. Local media estimated at least four million people filled the streets celebrating the team’s victory.

The immense crowds forced the team to abandon the parade route; players were instead boarded onto helicopters to fly over the Obelisk.

Trophy in hand, Messi led his team off the plane at Ezeiza International Airport, where a massive crowd of supporters greeted them.

The team’s bus drove from the airport to the Argentina Football Association’s training center in Ezeiza, in Buenos Aires province.

Fans young and old sang in the streets before, during and after seeing the players’ bus drive by.

Flags waved, crowds and Argentina’s national team sang, as the truck carrying the team wended its way slowly in the parade.

Lionel Messi, Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez were among the players seen singing from the open-top bus that transported them to the training center.

Fans cheered from the base to the peak of the iconic Obelisk in Buenos Aires.

The team’s official parade began in earnest on Tuesday with players taking a 50-mile route through the city in buses.

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