Juan Carlos “Peto” Simón: “we cried with joy, the feeling was unique”

-What was the game you suffered the most?

The Final, it’s crazy how the game turned out, it was tremendous. In no previous World Cup was such an emotional definition seen. With the Netherlands we suffered a lot, because they tied us in the last minutes of extra time.

-The celebrations of the Argentine partiality must have been impressive

A part went inside the stadium and then they continued in the city, there we met more people from Puan. Everyone celebrated, it was moving, you took the subway and you could see long lines of fans singing, already from the escalators. The majority wanted to see Argentina champion, whether they were Africans, Asians, a large part of the Europeans, Latin Americans and not to mention the Qataris themselves.

All Messi fans. You saw the stadium full and thought “they’re all Argentines”, but no, people of all nationalities mixed with us.

We still do not realize everything that the National Team generated, especially the figure of Messi, it is incredible what this boy causes. At the height or more than any world leader.

-How was it to see the evolution of the Scaleneta up close?

The team went from low to high, perhaps the defeat against Saudi Arabia shook us up a bit and then we started to play differently.

A World Cup, in addition to watching football, gives you the opportunity to get in touch with people from other countries, it is an experience where cultural diversity is seen up close.

It was impressive. To tell you something, when Montiel converts the penalty and we are Champions, we were in the stands and suddenly we hugged and cried with a Japanese, an African or a Mexican.

The inhabitants of the place and the people you saw on the street were always super friendly, everyone greets you. You moved freely at all times. Security was complete.

And, when they noticed that you were wearing the shirt with the AFA logo, they immediately asked to take a picture with you. It was something very nice and also a little weird. You were getting used to it.

The Argentine fan is so passionate that we attract attention, we do not go unnoticed, the local inhabitants did not miss the opportunity to film and take photos of us.

Let’s think that for a month all religions, cultures and customs coexisted.

The organization of the entire event was impeccable in every way, they organized a World Cup within a city, hosting fans and delegations from 32 countries. There was never a problem, the city is in the middle of the desert, but it looks like those that appear in futuristic movies, it seemed like you were inside a video game.

In the sense of communication, I didn’t have a great time because I don’t speak English, but my son and his friend coped well

The English spoken in Qatar is quite primitive, even some journalists who are fluent in that language told me that it was a bit precarious. It was the case of the journalist Christian Martin, ESPN correspondent in Europe, he lives in England and he told me that.

Most of the inhabitants of Doha are immigrants from neighboring countries, many of them the labor to carry out the infrastructure works for the World Cup.

-Did you have to abide by very strict rules while you were there?

There were restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages, only in night bars. There a jug of beer cost 20 dollars.

To stay, we chose a very nice neighborhood, we had the subway right there. The capacity of the departments was four or five people, everything brand new, from the television to the refrigerator. You could go to the supermarket and buy a lot in price. The advantage was having a credential to move around the city for free, both on the metro and by bus

-How were the stadiums?

974, where we played with Poland, has an air of Boca’s field, you can see the game from very close. A beautiful stadium. Of the eight there were, we met six. Because I also saw England, Germany, Japan, Belgium and Spain play. We put quite a world in it. The courts are close and easy to get to. And not being the matches in Argentina, it was easy to get tickets at FIFA prices. It’s that everyone wanted to see our National Team and Messi more than anything.

When the campus was established, people were crazy. Journalists from other countries spoke highly of our team.

The Lusail stadium, where the final was played and Argentina faced the Netherlands, is huge, very similar to River’s stadium, if it can be compared. So, with those undulations, being so high, we appreciate it from quite a distance, like from a 7th or 8th floor; I would tell you that we saw the field similar to a table football. Also, we enjoyed it.

With the former player of the German National Team, Jürgen Klinsmann

Photo. With the former player of the German National Team, Jürgen Klinsmann (Italy ’90 Champion)

-It was your first World Cup and with Argentina Champion.

Yes, everything turned out well for me, I fulfilled the dream of seeing Messi lift the Cup, for me he is an idol along with Diego Maradona, the maximum. Hopefully this has not been his last World Cup, that he has one more.

The trip to Qatar is long, we arrived via Madrid, we stayed there for two days.

-Did you miss something here?

The family, a bit of the food, but nothing, as the Selection progressed, you got so excited that you almost didn’t have time to miss. With mate, I drink a lot at home, but when I go out it is not essential.

-When we go on vacation somewhere, it is not uncommon to meet a person from Puan or someone from the area. Did that happen to you?

Yes, we agree with Hugo Ruesga and his children, with Jorge Meloni and his three children, with Platz, a doctor from Pigüé.

There was a boy that I didn’t get to know, with a flag written with the word PUAN. I went up to ask him if he was from Puan, he looks at me and greets me: “What are you doing, Peto? How are you?

It was Gerardo Regner, a former player of Puan Football Club. He played for a few years, then settled in Patagonia. He then walked through Bahía Blanca. It was a very nice surprise.

-What was the moment that you think will be kept forever in your memory?

Gonzalo Montiel’s last penalty. We cry with joy. The feeling was unique. The festivities, inside the stadium, lasted between two and three hours.

-There were people here who, when the penalties arrived, because of nerves, preferred not to look. The same thing happened to you there?

I suffered a lot, but I looked at them. The moment I suffered the most was the cover of “Dibu” Martínez to Kolo Muani, we were just behind that goal. There we all said “it can’t be”. Luckily the goalkeeper took it out, it was the last ball…

We had a great time throughout the tournament, we were lucky to get tickets. We bought them at affordable prices, the ones from the final just the night before.

-Beyond Argentina or France… What player or team did you like?

Player, Luka Modri?. I went to see him in Croatia vs. Japan, and then I saw him again against Argentina. He is an incredible footballer, he is very small, with a small build, skinnier than Messi. He runs all over the court, it’s amazing how he plays.

-Of the teams called “powerful” or “candidates”… Which ones did you like and which ones disappointed you?

Well, France of course, with an outstanding Mbappé in the final. He expected much more from Germany, although I don’t think he was very lucky. We went to see it with Costa Rica, when they ended up winning 4-2. In that game, Germany went from winning 1-0 to losing 2-1, but due to unlucky plays. He was out of luck. Against Japan, I think they deserved to win.

Brazil had its own too. I think she ended up giving us a hand. We were very good as a team, a classic would have been nice, but if we could avoid it better. I found Croatia more convenient than Brazil.

I saw Spain as weak… we must take into account its characteristic of “young team”, for that reason it lacked sufficient experience.

It happened to the African teams that sin innocent. They showed very good play and deployment, but they failed at key moments, when you have to have more of the ball and not let your opponent play.

I liked England a lot too, against Ghana they showed a very good level, on a par with France.

Juan Carlos “Peto” Simón: “we cried with joy, the feeling was unique”