Messi mania for ticketless fans outside FIFA World Cup stadium in Qatar | Football News – Times of India
One of thousands of ticketless fans stood outside, the Argentinian said it would never have been so loud for anyone else.
“If it was Croatia, there would have been silence. Everyone in there is for Messi,” added the 29-year-old who wore the number 10 Messi shirt in Argentina’s sky blue and white colours that is seen everywhere in Doha.
“This is the first Argentina game I could not get a ticket for,” said Santino Rosa, another Albiceleste fanatic.
“I am miserable not to be inside. But at least being here I know before the others that goals have been scored — and it is even better if Messi has one.”
More than 35,000 Argentina fans are reported to have been in Qatar for the World Cup and many have stayed to see out the campaign and be in the city if Messi does finally win the trophy.
Many could not get tickets for the semi-final. Messi fanatics — from his home country and South Asian migrant workers — gathered at big screens across Doha.
Argentinian fans have set up WhatsApp groups to track available tickets and even find accommodation for those in need.
“If we hear of a ticket we try to help others,” said Montez. “But it was difficult for today, there were many disappointed fans and it will be even worse for the final.”
The crowd outside the stadium grew as the match wore on.
Local families with children, all wearing the blue and white shirts or Argentine flags painted on their cheeks, also stared up at the stadium with the hard core who travelled from South America. Some watched the game on mobile phones.
Street traders started to gather selling Argentina and Croatia scarves for 50 riyals ($13), but struggled to find buyers.
Fifteen year-olds Aisha and Haya carried sky blue and white pom-poms to go with their shirts and waved their arms furiously as Julian Alvarez’s goals were announced by further eruptions inside the stadium.
“We only really discovered football with the World Cup but we know Messi is special,” said Aisha. “It is impossible to get tickets now but we will be out again for the final,” added Haya.
Thousands of people walked past the stadium to go and watch the match on a giant screen on Lusail Boulevard.
The FIFA Fan Festival near the Doha seafront closed its gates before the game started when it reached its 40,000 capacity.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers gathered at more than 10 fan zones set up for them around the edge of Doha.
Argentina are firm favourites with the foreign labourers whose treatment by Qatar has been in the spotlight in the runup to the World Cup.
And Argentina shirts have become the most popular fashion accessory of the World Cup whether in Doha’s upscale shopping malls or the industrial zone.
While official shirts can cost $90 or more, fakes can be bought for as little as three dollars in some backstreet stores
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