Argentines shocked, saddened by loss to Saudis at World Cup

Nov 22, 2022, 12:34 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm
Argentina soccer fans watch their team lose to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Group C soccer match pla...

Argentina soccer fans watch their team lose to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Group C soccer match played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

(AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Tears welled in the eyes of Oscar López as he washed the windows of the Buenos Aires building where he works as the superintendent.

A devoted fan of Argentina, the 67-year-old was visibly upset as he reflected on the bitter 2-1 loss by the national team, delivered by upstart Saudi Arabia on Monday at the World Cup in Qatar.

But the fact that Argentina was favored over the Saudis is no excuse, Lopez said.

“If they’re in the World Cup, no team is easy,” López said. “You always have to be careful.”

Most of Argentina got up early to watch the 7 a.m. match and the long-awaited debut of Lionel Messi’s team. Many walked to bakeries in Buenos Aires wearing the light-blue-and-white jerseys to grab snacks.

Sounds of cheering were heard in the streets at the kickoff. More noise followed when Messi scored early in the game, and the din of air horns penetrated the morning air.

But an eerie silence then set in, as what was supposed to be an easy match turned challenging. Saudi Arabia rallied with two second-half goals, and one of World Cup’s favorites instead suffered one of its biggest upsets.

“The truth is, this is a disappointment, a big disappointment,” said Alejandro Pintos, a 36-year-old locksmith who opened his shop later than usual to watch the game. “This was the match that we had no choice but to win.”

Pintos said the national team was “very disorganized” — something he found particularly frustrating, given its 36-match unbeaten streak leading up to the tournament.

Local media quoted Messi as saying he was just as shocked as the fans on how things had turned out.

“It’s a very strong blow,” Messi said. “We didn’t expect to begin this way.”

Other fans took to social media to complain about three potential Argentina goals ruled out on offside calls.

Argentines were counting on the World Cup to bring a glimmer of a hope to a country that has been economically stagnant for years, suffering a nearly 100% inflation rate and where close to four in 10 live in poverty.

“I’m really quite bitter,” said Josefina Licera, a 27-year-old social worker, as she waited to take a bus to work. “I was really sure we were going to win, and it was a big surprise.”

Susana Leguizamón, 55, woke up early, put on her blue-and-white-striped Argentina jersey and was ready to celebrate.

“I was very, very, very surprised,” she said. “The truth is, we underestimated our rival.”

But Santiago Babarro, 40, said he wasn’t too shocked by the loss.

“The same thing always happens to Argentina,” the retail worker said. “We say, ‘This is an easy match, we can win it easily,’ and then, bam! They put us in our place. We always believe we’re more than what we are.”

Sebastián Fabre said he woke up with an uneasy feeling and was worried about what he said was overconfidence by Argentina’s fans.

“There was way too much unfounded optimism. I didn’t want to say anything but I think we were all way too overconfident,” he said.

Leguizamón, who walked to her job at a restaurant still wearing her Argentina jersey, said she could feel the suffering of those around her.

“Everyone is very sad, very sad,” she said. “We all woke up with lots of hope.”

Some fans saw a silver lining in suffering adversity at the outset of the tournament. Argentina next plays Mexico on Saturday in the second Group C match.

“Really, it’s better that this happened in the first match and not in the quarterfinals,” Fabre said. “That’s the positive side to this.”

Leguizamón agreed.

“A trip is not a fall, as we say here,” she said, using a common Argentine expression. “I’m a big fan of the national team and I get in a really bad mood when it loses but my hope is intact.”

The saddest part, said 21-year-old retail worker Florencia Folgoso, “is having to go to work after watching a match that we lost. You already start the day with the left foot.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Argentina soccer fans watch the team lose to Saudi Arabia at a World Cup Group C soccer match, played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              Argentina soccer fans watch the team lose to Saudi Arabia at a World Cup Group C soccer match played in Qatar, on a large screen set up for fans in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              Argentina soccer fans wearing their national flag watch the team lose to Saudi Arabia at a World Cup Group C soccer match played in Qatar, on a large screen set up for fans in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              Argentina soccer fans wearing Lionel Messi jerseys watch their team lose to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Group C soccer match, played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              An Argentina soccer fan holds a Maradona flag while watching the national team lose to Saudi Arabia at a World Cup Group C soccer match, played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              An Argentina soccer fan watches the team lose to Saudi Arabia at a World Cup Group C soccer match, played on a large screen, reflected in the sunglasses, in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              An Argentina soccer fan watches the team lose to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Group C soccer match played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
            
              Argentina soccer fans watch their team lose to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Group C soccer match played on a large screen in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

AP

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., arrives for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address to a joint...
Associated Press

Sen. John Fetterman hospitalized after feeling lightheaded

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Democrat who suffered a stroke during his campaign last year, was hospitalized Wednesday night after feeling lightheaded while attending a Senate Democratic retreat, his office said. Initial tests at George Washington University Hospital did not show evidence of a new stroke, Fetterman’s communications director, Joe Calvello, […]
23 hours ago
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Frid...
Associated Press

Fiery Ohio derailment raises railroad safety questions

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The fiery derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals when it went off the tracks — sending a huge plume of smoke in the air and forcing residents of a small Ohio town to evacuate — has highlighted the potentially disastrous consequences of train accidents and raised questions about railroad safety. […]
23 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress a...
Associated Press

Biden’s oil comments spark debate over energy production

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden sparked a firestorm in energy circles when he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that the United States will need oil “for at least another decade.´´ Republicans in the House chamber laughed in derision at Biden’s off-the-cuff remark, which was not in his scripted speech. GOP lawmakers […]
23 hours ago
Kailani Taylor-Cribb walks through her neighborhood in Asheville, N.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. ...
Associated Press

The pandemic missing: The kids who didn’t go back to school

She’d be a senior right now, preparing for graduation in a few months, probably leading her school’s modern dance troupe and taking art classes. Instead, Kailani Taylor-Cribb hasn’t taken a single class in what used to be her high school since the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She vanished from Cambridge, Massachusetts’ public school roll […]
23 hours ago
Maria Chagwena, a millet farmer, holds a plate with millet grains outside her house in Zimbabwe's a...
Associated Press

UN eyes revival of millets as global grain uncertainty grows

RUSHINGA, Zimbabwe (AP) — While others in her Zimbabwean village agonize over a maize crop seemingly headed for failure, Jestina Nyamukunguvengu picks up a hoe and slices through the soil of her fields that are lush green with a pearl millet crop in the African country’s arid Rushinga district. “These crops don’t get affected by […]
23 hours ago
This shows a Chinese Dahua brand security camera in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Aust...
Associated Press

Australian Defense Department to remove Chinese-made cameras

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Defense Department will remove surveillance cameras made by Chinese Communist Party-linked companies from its buildings, the government said Thursday after the U.S. and Britain made similar moves. The Australian newspaper reported Thursday that at least 913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems and video recorders developed and manufactured by Chinese companies […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Argentines shocked, saddened by loss to Saudis at World Cup