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SBD Global/July 15, 2014/World Cup

Germans Take To Streets To Celebrate; Argentines Riot In Buenos Aires

Celebrations of Germany's World Cup championship began at 23:36pm German local time on Sunday, "when the final whistle blew in Rio de Janeiro, and will continue until at least Tuesday," according to Stefan Wagstyl of the FINANCIAL TIMES. As Germans went to work on Monday, "cars, lorries and even bicycles were still decorated with black-red-gold national flags." The Erste TV station's headline on its morning new show said, "Germany is World Champion." Bild said, "Thanks, lads." A record 34.65 million viewers "watched the final in their homes." Millions more watched on public screens, "including 50,000 in Frankfurt's Commerzbank arena, 33,000 in Munich's Olympic stadium, and about 20,000 at Berlin's FC Union Club, where fans parked their own sofas on the pitch." After the victory, "delighted supporters spilled out on to the streets, waving their scarves and clutching cans of beer and lemonade." Tens of thousands "swarmed around the bars of the Kurfürstendamm, west Berlin's premier shopping street, the St Pauli party district in Hamburg and Leopoldstrasse in central Munich." Magazine Spiegel said on its website, "What a night. From the North Sea to the Alps, football fans have had only one thing to do for hours: celebrate, celebrate celebrate" (FT, 7/14).

RIOTS IN BUENOS AIRES: The AP reported riot police "fired tear gas and rubber bullets late Sunday to restrain a group of vandals who disturbed a peaceful rally" celebrating Argentina's performance in a 1-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup final. Police said that 20 officers were injured and "at least 60 people were arrested." Parents with small children "could be seen fleeing in fear after police, who initially remained on the sidelines as jubilant fans poured into downtown Buenos Aires, began chasing down the vandals on motorcycles." The youths, "many of them with their faces covered and drinking heavily, responded by hurling rocks, destroying store fronts and even breaking into a theater." The "chaotic situation" marred an otherwise "spontaneous show of support for Argentina's national team." The center of festivities was the city's "iconic Obelisk, where fans traditionally gather to celebrate victory, not defeat." A crowd of "about 20,000 people dressed in blue and white colors filled the capital's Plaza San Martin to watch the match on a giant screen, climbing atop lamp posts to get a better view" (AP, 7/14). LA NACION reported "everything was prepared for a party." Despite Argentina's loss, "thousands had congregated to recognize the team's effort." It all began when a "group of around 15 fans climbed on the roof of a TV truck and tore off an antenna while journalists abandoned the vehicle." Later, "everything grew worse when a group of people threw rocks and sticks at police officers trying to contain the disturbances." The clash left eight officers wounded and resulted in 40 arrests (LA NACION, 7/13). The DPA reported various incidents in different Argentine cities cast a shadow over thousands of fans' celebrations of Argentina finishing second in the World Cup. The disturbances in Buenos Aires lasted more than two hours. Celebrations in La Plata, Córdoba and Mar del Plata also led to incidents and arrests (DPA, 7/14). In London, Benedict Mander wrote "silence fell in Buenos Aires" when Germany scored the game-winner. Thousands of football fans "crowding around an outdoor screen in Plaza San Martin in downtown Buenos Aires hung their heads in dismay." Many "inebriated supporters continued to chant even after the defeat, proudly wearing the light blue and white national colours." They sang, "Brazil, tell me how it feels, to have your daddy in your house," in reference to Argentina's "age-old rivalry with its neighbour." One supporter, Nico Gutierrez, said, "They did their best, it was a great game. There’s nothing we can blame [the team] for, no recriminations." Just an hour earlier, the 9 de Julio and the "rest of the city's principal thoroughfares were eerily empty while any bar or restaurant with a television across the city was full to bursting" (FT, 7/13).
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