Absolutely ballistic.

That was the state of the entire country of Argentina one month ago, when they won the World Cup in December of 2022. Goshen College student Pedro Scattolon was in the Argentinian city of Rosalio at the time, surrounded by his friends as they gathered to watch the final match. 

“We were winning 2-0,” said Scattolon, “and when [France] scored the second goal to tie, we started looking at each other. We couldn’t believe it. Some of [our friends] left and got in the car, turned up the music and didn’t know what happened after.”The match was tied, 2-2, at the end of full time. So an additional 30 minutes were added on, and Argentina struck back first.

“When we scored the 3rd goal,” said Scattolon, “we started going crazy like jumping and hugging each other saying ‘come on! let’s go!’ … right after that was [a] penalty for France. Again, we couldn’t believe it. It was unreal. A lot of my friends were crying.”

Thanks to the late penalty Scattolon mentioned, France tied the game at the brink of full time. In a match many consider to be the best World Cup final of all time, the teams went to the most thrilling outcome possible: penalty kicks.

But after keeper Emi Martinez saved one kick and France missed another, Argentina scored the decisive goal to win the shootout, 4-2. Instantaneously, the entire country erupted in celebration.

“When we scored the last goal,” said Scattolon, “we started jumping and screaming.” He described the importance of winning the competition: “If you asked anyone, the desire of the new year [2022] was winning the World Cup.” 

This dream of victory could not have come true without Lionel Messi, an Argentine legend and idol for so many around the world. Although enjoying great success in other competitions, Messi had suffered much on the national team, including a loss to Germany in the final of the 2014 World Cup. After much criticism, winning this World Cup was Messi’s final crowning achievement. 

An Argentine journalist, Sofia Martinez Mateos, told Messi before the final that “You have marked all our lives … Carry it in your heart because that is more important than a World Cup, and you’ve already won that.” 

That statement encapsulated exactly how many Argentinians felt about Messi, the “little boy from Rosario,” and Scattolon agreed. Smiling the entire time, he said, “Winning it was everything [to Messi] … it means everything.” 

For the achievement of such a unified desire, “the country stops,” said Scattolon. In Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, five million people gathered to celebrate their long awaited victory. The final was on Sunday, Dec. 18. On Monday, the President of Argentina declared the following day, Dec. 20, a national holiday. 

“For Argentina,” said Scattolon, “winning the World Cup was everything,” For the achievement of such a unified desire, “the country stops.” Scattolon. In Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, five million people gathered to celebrate their long-awaited victory. The final was on Dec. 18. The next day, President Alberto Fernández declared Dec. 20 a national holiday.