Kerala celebrates Argentina’s World Cup final win; fans indulge in violence

07:47 PM Dec 19, 2022 | PTI |

Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: The streets of Kerala resembled that of Argentina on Sunday night when the Latin American nation lifted the football World Cup in Qatar after a gap of 36 years.


Old and young, children and women, soccer fans were out screaming out of joy, bursting firecrackers, shouting the name of Lionel Messi, blowing trumpets and horns, celebrating Argentina’s win by dancing on the streets.

Thousands of people across Kerala celebrated Argentina’s penalty shootout win over France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final on Sunday night.

The East Fort area and Vanchiyoor in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital, were literally crowded at midnight with fans wearing Argentina jerseys celebrating the victory.

Various parts of Kochi city also witnessed huge celebrations with firecrackers, and trumpets blowing when Messi lifted the World Cup for Argentina.


Television channels showed the celebrations on the streets of several towns, cities and villages of the southern state as the South American team defeated France in the penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play resulted in a 3-3 stalemate.

“Vamos,” fans, donning the Argentina jersey, were seen shouting as they jumped up and down and danced around with each other unable to contain their joy.

Some were too excited to even answer reporters’ queries on how they were feeling and just responded with screams and incoherent shouts.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, Assembly Speaker M B Rajesh, various state ministers, MLAs, movie stars including Mammootty and Mohanlal shared their excitement over Argentina’s triumph.

In a Facebook post, Vijayan congratulated Argentina for the World Cup victory.

“Congratulations to Argentina who won the football World Cup. Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory — the most precious achievement of his career,” he said.

He said unique expressions of the beautiful game of football were witnessed throughout the tournament.

Mammootty and Mohanlal, the two big stars of Malayalam movie industry were at the Lusail stadium in Qatar to witness the title clash between Argentina and France.

“What a Night !!! What a Game !! Absolute Goosebumps !! Thrilled to have witnessed probably one of the greatest ever football match. Congrats Argentina and Magical messi on conquering the world. Well Played #France and Kylian Mbappe,” Mammootty posted on Facebook.

Mohanlal, who also posted a picture of himself at the stadium, said it was a glorious final in which two worthy opponents played their hearts out and gave millions of football fans a “nerve-wracking match”.

“Congratulations Argentina on a hard won victory. 36 years of toil and the cup is once again yours. Leo Messi has kept his date with destiny and will bow out in glory. A glorious last dance…Kudos to Kylian Mbappe and the French team for being such worthy opponents and for the great fight they put up till the end. Well done Qatar,” Mohanlal said.

Former state minister and senior Left leader M M Mani, MLA, who is a die-hard Argentina fan, watched the match on a big screen at his constituency in Idukki district.

“There will be people who attack us…there will be people who criticise us…None of that concerns us. What a final… Both are great teams. Thanks to the critics, you are our energy…It was a great match. France was a good opponent. Mbappe is good,” Mani said.

Speaker Rajesh said it was a beautiful final which kept on toes the football fans across the world showcasing the beauty, drama and the uncertainty of the game.

“We said we (Argentina) will win. Argentina created history. Messi ki jai,” jubilant fans were shown shouting in various TV channels.

Some others said,”Neymar came, Ronaldo came, but it was Messi who walked away with the cup.” However, in many places, the celebrations led to minor violence injuring many including a few policemen.

At Kannur, a few persons including a police official were injured during multiple incidents of scuffles at various parts in the district.

At Kochi, a case was registered against five persons for allegedly attacking a civil police officer during a celebration at Kaloor junction.

In Pozhiyoor area of Thiruvananthapuram district, a police officer was injured when a man in an inebriated condition attacked him during a big screen telecast of the World Cup final.

Kerala, known for its love for football, caught the global attention last month when a group of Argentinian soccer fans in Pullavoor village of Kozhikode erected a 30-ft cutout of Messi over a small islet weeks ahead of the World Cup.

Subsequenty, Brazil fans erected a 40-ft cutout of Neymar Jr along the banks of the river, spicing up the contest between supporters of the two stars. However, both the stars were overshadowed by yet another over 45-ft Cristiano Ronaldo cutout wearing the Portugal jersey.

Incidentally, FIFA tweeted a picture of the cutouts, saying world cup “fever has hit Kerala.” In 2021, when Argentina won the Copa America, the streets of Kerala were as charged as any Latin American street.

During the football season, it has now become customary for enthusiastic legislators in Kerala cutting across political lines to engage in a social media banter over their two favourite teams, Brazil and Argentina.

Different incidents of minor violence were reported from Kannur district last night in which two cases were registered and six persons were under custody.

“One person suffered a stab injury on his leg and was hospitalised during an incident of violence at Palliyamoola in the district. In another incident at Thalassery, a police officer was injured,” a senior special branch police officer told PTI.

Kannur Police said a total of six persons were under custody in both the incidents.

A police officer was attacked and dragged by a five-member gang at Kaloor junction in Kochi city.

“A gang of five attacked the police officer who was on duty on Sunday night. They attacked him and dragged him while he opposed them blocking the road and celebrating,” police said.

In the Kochi incident, a case has been registered against Arun, Sarath, Dipin, Jackson and one another identifiable person for allegedly manhandling the police officer, voluntarily causing hurt, and on other sections including assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.

In a video which was telecast on channels showed the gang dragging the police officer.

In the Pozhiyoor area of Thiruvananthapuram district, a police officer was injured when a man in an inebriated state attacked him during a big screen telecast of the world cup final.

Police said Justin was among a group of people who attempted to create issues at the venue where the match was being shown. He was arrested and the police officer was shifted to a hospital nearby.

In a library near Kottarakara in Kollam district, where the match was being shown on a screen, at least three suffered injuries during a minor scuffle. Police have admitted them to hospitals and registered a case in the matter.

Old and young, children and women, soccer fans were out screaming out of joy, bursting of firecrackers, shouting the name of Argentina’s superstar Lionel Messi, blowing trumpets and horns, celebrating Argentina’s win by dancing on the streets.

Thousands of people across Kerala celebrated Argentina’s win over France in a penalty shootout in the 2022 football World Cup final on Sunday night.


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