Argentina ‘madness’ as 1.5-mn vie for 63,000 match tickets

(FILES) Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — More than 1.5 million Argentina fans applied for 63,000 tickets for the team’s first appearance, in a friendly against Panama, since lifting the football World Cup in Qatar.

Tickets for the match in Buenos Aires on Thursday next week, sold out in two hours, according to the Deportick website, as local media said the virtual ticket line drew 1.5 million people.

The Monumental Stadium has a capacity of 83,000, but the Argentina Football Association (AFA) said 20,000 seats were reserved for complimentary tickets.

Not even the price of about $245 (230 euros) per ticket dampened enthusiasm in a country where the average salary is not even double that, according to official figures.

AFA president Claudio Tapia said there had been 131,537 requests for media accreditation, with stadium capacity for only 344 journalists.

“We would love to be able to accommodate everyone, but we would need two … stadiums, just for journalists. The madness for Argentina is total,” said Tapia.

Argentina won its third World Cup title by beating France 4-3 on penalties after drawing 3-3 at the final whistle.

After the match against Panama, Lionel Messi’s team will take on Curacao in a friendly five days later.

© Agence France-Presse