It was an afternoon of jubilation, nationalism and protest at DAR Constitution Hall yesterday as about 4,000 spectators packed themselves into the auditorium for the televised final of the World Cup competition while about 200 demonstrators picketed outside.
Parading with a sign demanding an explanation of the disappearance of Argentinian priest, Gene Klutzman, chairman of the protesting group, said, "We are not opposed to the World Cup, just the (Argentine) government's use of the games to make the country look good."
While the protest continued outside with no incident, the hall was packed mostly with male Dutch and South Americans watching Argentina beat Holland, 3-1, in overtime.
When Argentina's Mario Kempes scored the first goal of the game, the audience, which had been relatively quiet, eruped. Hundreds of fans jumped from their seats, waving the national blue and white flag of Argentina and clapping their hands.
The goal held up through the first half.
During the intermission, one fan, George Dipietor, who was pulling for Holland, was furious about some difficulty he said he encountered over his advance ticket. "I bought my ticket weeks ago (a $15 general admission seat)," he said, "and when I tried to take my seat they said I had to pay five more dollars" for a $20 reserved seat.A spokesman said that such a procedure was not the policy at the hall.
In the second half, the Dutch fana had a chance to show their colors.
When Dirk Nanninga scored the equalizer for the Netherlands, the Dutch backers, who were roughly equal in number to the South Americans, cheered wildly, with about 500 of them waving the orange, white and blue Dutch flag.
Many of the Dutch fans were grumbling between their cheers. "The refereeing is awful," said one man. "It seems that every close call goes in favor of Argentina."
The 30-minute overtime was a half-hour of rapture for the South Americans. When Kempes put his team ahead, the same explosion of cheers that had rocked the hall in the first period was repeated. And when Daniel Bertoni iced it for Argentina, the scene was a miniature version of the jubilation in Buenos Aires.
There was a boisterous countdown from five seconds to zero as the game ended. The crowd sang and chanted "Ar-gen-tin-a." Men shooks hand with street when the game was over
The crowd surged onto the street when the game was over, still singing, chanting an waving their flags, and anyone within a few blocks of Constitution Hall knew who had won the World Cup.