World Cup homecoming brings Argentina to a standstill

When the Argentina national football team landed 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 Day, and the team began a 50-mile victory parade through the capital.

The team toured the city in an open-topped bus, flanked by security guards, and the players were seen banging drums and sipping viajeros, a local drink that combines Coca-Cola with Fernet, an Italian spirit drunk from a cut-off plastic bottle will. According to local media, so many Argentines came to greet the team, at least four million, that the parade was canceled early because the streets were overcrowded with people. Some fans threw themselves off bridges to try to get onto the open-top bus carrying the players, and a supporter died after falling from a downtown monument during Sunday night’s celebrations.

The tour ended with team members flying over the city in helicopters instead. Celebrations have continued since Sunday when Argentina won their third World Cup title. On Victory Night, more than a million people flocked to Avenida 9 de Julio in the heart of the capital, singing songs, honking their horns and setting off fireworks.

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

—Ana Lankes

Lionel Messi and his teammates rode an open top bus to the Obelisk surrounded by thousands of fans at every step.

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

The national team members took turns holding the trophy while singing, drinking and waving flags during the parade.

Millions of people celebrated Argentina’s third World Cup victory in Buenos Aires.

Leandro Paredes held up the World Cup trophy as he and his team-mates sang with fans along the parade route.

The obelisk in central Buenos Aires commemorating 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 anything they could hold up, including streetlights and awnings over bus shelters.

Sitting in the back of the bus, Lionel Messi and his team-mates started the journey from the Ezeiza training center to downtown Buenos Aires just before noon on Tuesday.

Accompanied by trumpets, drums or sometimes nothing at all, Argentinian fans have been singing since the start of Sunday’s final.

Pictures of Messi alongside legendary Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona were unfurled across the capital.

Almost from the start, the caravan moved slowly through densely packed crowds. Local media estimated at least four million people packed the streets to celebrate the team’s victory.

The immense crowd forced the team to leave the parade route; Players were instead put in helicopters to fly over the obelisk.

Trophy in hand, Messi led his team off the plane at Ezeiza International Airport, where they were greeted by a huge crowd of fans.

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

Fans big and small sang in the streets before, during and after watching the players’ bus drive by.

Flags waved, crowds and the Argentina national team sang as the truck carrying the team drove slowly through the parade.

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

Fans cheered from the base to the top of the iconic obelisk in Buenos Aires.

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

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