Football fans in Kochi, Kerala, celebrate Argentina's victory in the World Cup final match between Argentina and France in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday. AP
The celebrations after Argentina’s victory over France in the Fifa World Cup finals in Doha on Sunday turned violent in many places in the football-crazy Kerala overnight.
Police officers were attacked in the state capital, in Kochi and Thalassery and four men sustained stab injuries in the northern city of Kannur.
The sub-inspector of Pozhiyoor police station here suffered injuries while trying to control a drunken group of fans creating problems for residents. They beat, kicked and dragged the officer on the floor. He sustained head and arm injuries. The attackers are in custody.
A video of a group of men attacking a policeman and dragging him on the road by his leg in the port city of Kochi went viral triggering outrage. They attacked him as he asked them not to block the road during their celebrations before the metro station in Kaloor past midnight.
The police said they had booked six people in Kannur after they allegedly stabbed Anurag, 24, who was returning home after watching the match on a makeshift screen.
People in Kochi, watch on a big screen the World Cup final match between Argentina and France in Qatar. AP
A fight broke out after the screening of the match near the Palliyamoola Nethaji Arts and Sports Club, which organised the programme, leading to the stabbing incident. The feud between two groups of people was simmering after Croatia beat Brazil, the hot favourites of Kerala fans along with Argentina.
While Anurag suffered critical injuries, his friends Alex, Adarsh and Nakul sustained minor wounds from the attack knives and blunt weapons.
The police said his friends were trying to protect Anurag when the gang attacked him and they all had been hospitalised. They were beaten on their head with a cricket stump. The police also booked several fans returning after public screenings of the match at several places for drunk driving and overspeeding.
Thousands of fans celebrated the Argentine victory by bursting firecrackers, dancing on the streets and screaming out of joy.
Flags of rival teams fluttered on the streets throughout the match which was beamed on makeshift public screens everywhere.
The fans crowded the East Fort and Vanchiyoor areas in the capital city wearing Argentina jerseys and the celebrations continued late into the night.
Television channels showed the celebrations on the streets of several towns, cities and villages of the southern state. In Thrissur, an Argentine fan hotelier kept his promise to serve 1,500 plates of free biryani if his favourite team win.
"I’ve never attended a football match in my life so I had to take this chance,” said Mariam, a student of international relations who like other Iranian women at the match declined to give her last name for fear of government reprisals.
"From Qatar, from the Arab world, I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022," he said in a speech in a tent-shaped stadium. "How lovely it is that people can put aside what divides them to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together all at once."
"I love soccer, what I do. I enjoy being part of the national team, the group. I want to enjoy a couple of more matches being a world champion.” Messi has won the Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world on seven occasions.
World number one Carlos Alcaraz crushed Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Sunday and move a step closer to a blockbuster showdown with Novak Djokovic.
The West Indies openers King and Johnnson Charles added a quick-fire 48 runs for the first wicket to set the tone for a successful chase.
"When I was giving birth to our daughter in October, I never believed I would go all the way to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam," Svitolina added.