FIFA World Cup 2022: As street party erupts, helicopters transport World Cup champions to Argentina

Following their triumphant return with the coveted trophy, Argentina’s 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning team was forced to forgo their bus parade in Buenos Aires in favor of a helicopter ride.

MessiSquad led After defeating 2018 World Cup champions France in a penalty shootout, Argentina won the tournament after a 36-year wait. The land route was blocked by nearly four million people, making it impossible for Argentina’s World Cup-winning team to reach the main Obelisk monument.

Why was the Argentine squad transported by plane?

The eight-hour journey was cut short for security reasons after images surfaced on social media showing some fans trying to board the team bus as it passed under a bridge. The athletes were put into helicopters after being removed from their parade bus.

The group arrived at the Ezeiza airport early Tuesday morning. Thousands of people waited with banners, flags and flares as they cheered in celebration after Messi and his teammates ended the nation’s 36-year World Cup drought.

Read more: FIFA World Cup 2022: Records broken in this tournament

Around noon, a large crowd had already gathered in downtown Buenos Aires, with all major thoroughfares closed in preparation for the parade. People sang, played instruments, climbed light poles and bus stops and held up banners honoring Messi and the late icon Diego Maradona.

“The world champions are flying over the entire route in helicopters because it became impossible for them to continue on the ground due to the explosion of joy,” the spokeswoman for the Argentine presidency, Gabriela Cerruti, wrote on Twitter.

President of the Argentine soccer team Twitter after winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

“They won’t let us get to greet all the people who were at the Obelisk. The security agents who were escorting us did not let us move forward,” tweeted Chiqui Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

“A thousand apologies on behalf of all the champion players,” he added. “Thanks for much love!! We are the best soccer nation in the world! The cup is back home.”

Read more: FIFA declares that “the GOAT debate is resolved” after the victory of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi in the World Cup

“I celebrate how people took to the streets to pay tribute to our team,” President Alberto Fernández said in a post on Twitter. “Millions of Argentines in the streets, in an atypical December, which will remain forever in our hearts.”

The nation proclaimed Tuesday a national holiday, allowing fans to rejoice at their team’s World Cup victory after a 36-year drought.

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