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Huge crowds welcome the Argentina team home after World Cup victory

Thousands line up in the middle of the night to catch a glimpse of the team that won one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time.

Thousands of fans have lined up in the middle of the night to try to catch a glimpse of the Argentina soccer team that won one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time.

The plane carrying World Cup winners and their captain Lionel Messi from Qatar arrived at the Ezeiza international airport in Buenos Aires at 02:40 local time (05:40 GMT) on Tuesday.

After beating France in Sunday’s thrilling final, the players will now spend the night at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training complex near the airport.

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They will then begin a tour through the center of the city of Buenos Aires from noon on Tuesday with millions expected in the streets in what President Alberto Fernández declared a national holiday.

Messi, who scored twice in the final, was the first player off the plane, holding the World Cup aloft, with coach Lionel Scaloni right behind him as they walked past a banner reading: “Thank you, champions.” .

Forward Julián Álvarez, a revelation in Qatar with his four goals, was one of the next players to leave, along with the one who took his place in the team, Lautaro Martínez, who carried a bass drum.

Nicolás Tagliafico published a photo of the World Cup buckled up in the seat of an airplane as if he were another passenger.

An image of Messi was emblazoned on the tail of the plane with the words: “One team, one country, one dream” on the side.

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The players were greeted by the rock band La Mosca singing Muchachos, a song that was written by a fan to the tune of an old song by the band and became a popular unofficial anthem for Argentine fans at the World Cup. in Qatar.

The newly crowned world champions boarded an open-top bus and sang as they waited for everyone to get on, before heading to the AFA headquarters.

The bus moved at a snail’s pace as fans, many of whom were waving Argentine flags, thronged the bus on a highway, eager to see the players as law enforcement officers tried to keep them at bay.

The players will sleep at the AFA headquarters for a few hours before heading Tuesday to the Obelisk, the iconic Buenos Aires monument that was a sea of ​​people on Sunday afternoon after the team won the country’s third World Cup. , the first since 1986, shattering France’s dream of back-to-back wins.

With seven goals in Qatar 2022, Messi also ranked second on the tournament’s top scorers list, behind Frenchman Kylian Mbappé.

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