VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was packed inside of Argentine restaurant Mercado Buenos Aires for the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia, and it didn't take long to get the energy up.
"The energy here is incredible because everyone is so excited, and everyone is so in the game," said Colin Pierce, an Argentina fan. "The energy is something I've never experienced before."
The crowd inside erupted in euphoria when Lionel Messi scored the first goal. Argentina fans at the watch party in Van Nuys were happy to see him advance in what is expected to be his last World Cup appearance.
"I want him to take it for our country, Argentina, Buenos Aires, please, I'm excited," said Evelyn Jovic, another fan who calls Argentina her home country.
It was a much different scene where hundreds of Croatian fans gathered for a watch party at St. Anthony Croatian Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles.
But in the end there can only be one winner.
"For me it's a very big game and World Cup because I know it's Leo Messi's last World Cup," said Miranda Bruno, another fan who says she was born in Argentina. "I would love for him to have this World Cup because for us he's the GOAT and he means so much to us."
Argentina fans celebrated the win with cheering, singing and drumming. They said they are sure this is their year.
With the 3-0 win over Croatia, Argentina will advance to the finals on Sunday and face the winner of Wednesday's match between Morocco and France.