Tens of thousands of fans had gathered around the capital's central Obelisk monument to watch the match. Though most quietly left the viewing area afterward, many stayed late into the night and smashed store windows, raided a theater, attacked journalists and hurled rocks at the police. Twenty officers were injured in the riots, police said.
It's a violent turn of events for fans of the second-place finisher, as the square had hosted joyful celebrations just hours earlier, complete with fireworks. The national team had had a spectacular run to the final – La Albiceleste conceded just two goals in group play, and none in the knockout rounds – but more important, the team's performance had unified the country of 40 million during its debt crisis.
But Germany's last-minute, extra time goal, and Argentina star Lionel Messi's debatable, un-Maradona-like performance – despite his Golden Ball win as the best player of the tournament – left the Argentines dejected. After all, second place is hardest to stomach when it comes to the podium.