SINGAPORE - Argentina are now a single win away from being the 2022 World Cup champions. For Guillermo Bazan, this is a scenario he remembers all too well.
The Argentinian, a chemistry professor at the National University of Singapore, had joined hometown celebrations when Argentina came out on top in 1978 and 1986. He had grieved when they fell a win short in 1990 and 2014.
He said: “As someone from Argentina, this is such a big moment.
“For us, it’s not just a game. It’s family, it’s history, it’s the last 30 years of disappointment and always coming so close to winning.
“Now we’re back in the final again and it’s not an easy feeling to describe.”
Bazan was among a crowd of over 50 people, made up of mostly Argentinian fans, who had gathered at The Lawn at Chijmes for an outdoor screening of what came to be La Albiceleste’s 3-0 semi-final victory over Croatia in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
A group of about 15 Argentinian nationals, decked in the team’s trademark blue-and-white jerseys, were at the forefront of celebrations. Part of the Argentinian community in Singapore, the fans were unable to sit still as the stellar play and three goals by the Argentinian team saw them leaping to their feet and hugging those closest to them.
Emotions ran the highest as Argentina seemed to seal the deal with a third goal, a strike by Julian Alvarez assisted by captain Lionel Messi.
Engineer Julian Monti said: “Messi has shown in this World Cup that it doesn’t matter the age - you can still perform at the highest level. He’s broken every single record in football, has the most Ballon d’Or awards and has shown again and again that he’s the best. No one can do what he does.”
Ambassador for the Argentine Republic Mauricio Nine said Messi, Emiliano Martinez and Alexis Mac Allister were his favourite players of the match.
He expects the upcoming World Cup final to be a tight and good fight, he added.
The Argentinians are set to face either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday. Fans are optimistic about La Albiceleste’s chances of winning the cup since their last victory in 36 years ago.
Mr Nine said: “Of course we support our country, we have a strong team but we also respect the obvious strength that the French team have.”