While You Were Asleep: Argentina forced to abandon open bus celebration, More than 25m watched World Cup final in US, Ten Hag fears WC has set Man United back

The Argentina squad were forced to abandon their open-top bus for a helicopter after a member of the crowd managed to get onto the vehicle during their victory parade.

Argentina’s football team returned to Buenos Aires after winning the World Cup with a penalty shootout defeat of France in Sunday’s final. After staying at the Argentina Football Association’s headquarters, they then took to an open-top bus.

The incidents began when firefighters went to the Obelisk, the iconic Buenos Aires landmark that is the traditional site of celebrations, to evict a few people who had broken their way inside the monument.

The bus had been moving at a snail’s pace for more than four hours through the throngs of humanity before the overland parade was cut short. Team Captain Lionel Messi and the rest of the players waved at the massive crowd as they carried the World Cup trophy aloft after securing the country’s third title.

Two men tried to jump on from a bridge. One hung from a railing for several seconds before dropping safely onto the bus floor. But another man mistimed his jump and crashed off the back of the bus before falling headfirst to the ground. It was not clear if he had survived his fall, but security officials soon decided to cut the parade short.

The squad were taken to a secure field where two Argentine Navy helicopters were waiting for them. The squad were then flown back to the AFA headquarters near Ezeiza Airport, nearly five hours after departing on their tour. AFA president Claudio Tapia apologised on Twitter for the late change of plans, but insisted the decision had been taken out of their hands.

“They don’t let us get to greet all the people who were at the Obelisk, the same Security agencies that escorted us, don’t allow us to move forward. A thousand apologies on behalf of all the Champion players. A pity,” Tapia wrote on Twitter.

“The world champions are flying over the whole route on helicopters because it was impossible to continue by land due to the explosion of people’s happiness,” Gabriela Cerruti, the spokesperson for President Alberto Fernández, wrote on social media.

FIFA World Cup final viewership in US

Argentina’s dramatic victory over France in penalty kicks in the World Cup final was the second most-watched football match of any kind in the United States.

The early numbers from Nielsen, Fox and Telemundo show Sunday’s match had an English- and Spanish-language combined audience of 25,783,000.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi lifts the trophy after winning the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Argentina won 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the match ended tied 3-3. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

That trails the 26.7 million that tuned in to the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, when the U.S. beat Japan 5-2 in a match that aired in prime time for most of the United States because the tournament was held in Canada.

Fox’s numbers from Sunday should increase when the “match-only” rating is released later Tuesday. The 16,783,000 average released by Fox and Nielsen includes some pre- and post-match coverage.

The high viewership comes as the U.S., Canada and Mexico are set to host the 2026 World Cup.

Argentina’s first World Cup title since 1986 was Fox’s most-watched match of the tournament, surpassing the 15,491,000 that watched the Americans 0-0 draw with England during group-stage play on Nov. 25.

Sunday’s combined audience was a 31% increase over the 2018 final, which averaged 17.83 million on Fox and Telemundo. Fox’s audience increased 25.5% from four years ago, when France defeated Croatia in the final.

Telemundo’s total audience of 9 million is a 65% jump from 2018. Nearly one-third — 2.96 million — streamed Sunday’s match on Peacock and Telemundo’s digital services, which made it the most-streamed World Cup match in U.S. history, regardless of language.

The World Cup has set Manchester United back: Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag feels the World Cup has set Manchester United back and has urged his players not to let their standards drop when the Premier league returns.

Manchester United return to domestic action on Wednesday night when they face Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford.

“They have been playing for six weeks in a different environment with a different style of play, and they have to get back to our rules and principles. All 11 players have to be on the same page,” said Ten Hag.

“You saw in this World Cup many nations played passively, waiting and playing on the reaction.

“We have seen against Manchester City, that was our big problem in that game. We want to be dominant and proactive, but we played in a different way.”

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