Buenos Aires: Argentines reacted with tears, cheers and violence after the dream of a third World Cup title slipped through their fingers on Sunday, as clashes between hooligans and police ended a massive street party.

Argentine fans throw stones at police in Buenos Aires on Sunday
Argentine fans throw stones at police in Buenos Aires on Sunday 

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, the iconic monument where the country traditionally celebrates and rallies.

Despite the 0-1 loss to Germany in the down-to-the-wire, extra-time match, young Argentines climbed onto traffic lights and bus stops, dancing and singing to the beat of drums.

But after several hours of partying, dozens of hardcore fans known as 'barra bravas' started throwing rocks at riot police watching over the crowd, who responded by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

Most of the crowd dispersed as a haze of tear gas settled over the area, leaving just a few dozen fans, who smashed windows and set trash on fire, determined to provoke the police. Some looters stole what they could, including tables and chairs from a restaurant, and wrecked bus stop shelters.

Eight policemen were injured in the fray and some 50 people were arrested, local media reported. By midnight, police had cleared the mob and the downtown area was quiet, but with no bus service.