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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

World Cup homecoming brings Argentina to a halt

Millions of fans thronged the streets of Buenos Aires to welcome home Argentina’s national team in what may be the biggest open-air party in the capital’s history.

By Ana Lankes

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 4 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 1 million people streamed into Avenida 9 de Julio, in the heart of the capital, chanting songs, blaring car horns and setting off fireworks.

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