The Argentine-American sportscaster's emotional response to his home country's win won everyone's hearts.
If you didn't watch the 2022 World Cup final, you missed a historic event. I'm not even a soccer fan and I was sweating long before it was over. It was truly a riveting game.
First, a brief synopsis. At the end of regular time, France and Argentina were tied 2-2. After two harrowing 15-minute overtimes, they were still tied, at 3-3.
Only two other World Cup finals in history have still been tied after two overtimes, in 1994 and 2006. The game then came down to a penalty kick shootout, in which five players from each team faced off one-on-one with the goalkeepers. France missed two of their first four kicks, so when Argentina's Gonzalo Montiel successfully kicked the fourth goal, the Argentine team walked away the victors.
But there was more that made this game historic. France won the last World Cup in 2018, so if they triumphed this year, they'd be only the third team in history to win back-to-back titles. However, Argentina has Lionel Messi, who has played professional soccer for 18 years and has long been seen as one of the best players of all time but had never won a World Cup. In a career full of championship wins and records, the World Cup title was the only major soccer achievement he had yet to accomplish.
And, to make the match-up even more interesting, France's star player, Kylian Mbappé, is viewed as the next Lionel Messi, so there was the old guard versus new guard element to this game as well.
It was a World Cup fraught with significant players, but there was one more person to watch—Argentine-American sports announcer Andrés Cantor.
Cantor moved to the U.S. from Buenos Aires, Argentina, when he was a teen and has citizenship in both countries. He watched Argentina win the World Cup in 1978 and in 1986 before he started announcing the global event in 1990. Since then, 59-year-old Cantor has become famous for his sports commentary on Telemundo and his epically long "Gooooooooooooal!" when a player scores. He has also had to call two losing World Cup finals for his home country of Argentina, in 1990 and 2014.
Soccer is popular in a lot of countries, but it's particularly huge in Argentina. If you want to feel the emotion of an entire country wrapped up in one man, look no further than Andrés Cantor making the call as Argentina scored the knockout goal:
\u201cIncredible: Witness Andres Cantor, Buenos Aries born Argentinan-American Broadcast legend calling the penalty which won World Cup for Argentina. All that is good about sports and life \ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddf7\ud83c\udf99\ufe0f\ud83d\ude4c\u201d— roger bennett (@roger bennett) 1671396009
English translation courtesy of Sports Illustrated:
“GOOOOOOAL, Argentina is the champion. Argentina is the world champion. ARGENTINA IS THE WORLD CHAMPION! ARGENTINA IS THE WORLD CHAMPION! ARGENTINA IS THE WORLD CHAMPION! Argentina! Is the world champion! From the sky they did it. You guys did it, players. They won the sky. Argentina is the world champion. Messi is the world champion. It couldn't be any other way. Argentina. Lionel Scaloni's Argentine selection is the world champion. Argentina. Argentina is the world champion. ... 36 years, waiting ... Argentina, Argentina is the world champion.”
However, you don't have to understand a word he says to understand what he was feeling.
"It was a roller coaster of emotion," Cantor told the hosts of NBC's TODAY. "I was just trying to be calm, cool and collected, but I was overwhelmed."
What an incredible moment for Cantor, who has waited his entire career for an Argentina World Cup win. And to win it in such a dramatic fashion with the legendary Messi gaining the final jewel in his crown—it's just the stuff sports fans live for.
Congratulations to Cantor, Messi and all of Argentina for their team's hard-fought victory. Argentina campeón del mundo!