Credit…Julian Finney/Getty Images

You could see Argentine banners hanging from rafters and Tie around columns and They were fastened to walls. Six-foot high Argentine flags were flapping. and flourishing above Doha’s streets. Most of them had the same instantly recognisable faces: Diego Maradona and not Lionel Messi.

The same was true for the songs that echoed throughout the city starting at lunchtime, when gaggles Argentine fans met one another. Songs about Diego, looking from the sky; songs of Diego, passing his mantle to Messi; songs describing Diego and He is sorely missed.

This is a favorite of many. World Cup is, of course, about Messi: his last chance to win the one trophy that has eluded him — other than the Carabao Cup — throughout his glittering career. At last, Argentina It seems like he has created a team that can get out of him. One that has not lost in 35 games going into the tournament and One who arrived in Qatar with the genuine belief that Qatar is for them Tercera, the country’s third World CupThe future is just around the bend.

But judging from the Argentines who arrived, this month is not about adoring Messi but about honoring Maradona.

It is, after all, the first tournament since Maradona’s death two years ago this week, the first World Cup Without the presence in some way of the man who defined it for Argentina: as an inspirational player, as a cautionary tale, as an impassioned coach, as the country’s most ardent cheerleader. They want to win it all for Messi. The fans’ songs, their banners and Their flags are clear that they are here to celebrate Maradona.