‘Maradona is guiding us’: Argentina followers forward of World Cup remaining


Argentina followers are in search of inspiration from the late Diego Maradona as they hope their group can repeat his 1986 magic.

Doha, Qatar – For George Matus, a 55-year-old Argentina fan from Buenos Aires, Diego Maradona is a god who now sits within the heavens above, and Lionel Messi is his messiah on the soccer pitch.

It has been 36 years since Argentina final gained the soccer World Cup, however the magic of 1986 lives on within the reminiscences of Matus and his compatriots.

“When I think about that day in Mexico City, I get goosebumps, and my heart starts beating in my mouth,” Matus advised Al Jazeera from the Argentine fan village in Qatar.

As Argentina tackle France within the remaining on Sunday, two years on from Maradona’s loss of life, followers count on their icon to be the guiding mild from up above.

“When Maradona scored against England in the quarterfinal in 1986, he called it the hand of God, and now, he is the hand of God guiding Argentina all the way to glory,” Sebas, a Germany-based Argentina fan stated whereas referring to Maradona’s well-known first objective within the match in opposition to England.

That sport was performed 4 years after the Falklands War between Argentina and Britain. Maradona’s second objective in that match is broadly thought of one of many best ever: He took possession of the ball in Argentina’s half, then dribbled previous a sequence of England gamers and their goalkeeper to attain, leaving opposition gamers on their knees or with fingers on hips.

Many years later, Maradona termed the victory a “revenge” for the struggle in his autobiography, I’m The Diego.

Matus, who attended the 1986 World Cup as a 19-year-old, stated Maradona did extra than simply win a trophy for the nation. “I saw him weave his magic on the pitch, but his real power was in uniting the nation after the [Falklands] war,” Matus stated with a quivering voice.

According to Matus, Maradona was a frontrunner of your complete nation and united all Argentinians after years of financial wrestle, navy dictatorship and societal discord.

“He invoked a sense of pride in being Argentinian that we had forgotten, and he is the reason this blue and white shirt became so popular,” Matus stated whereas pointing to a sea of Argentine shirts within the crowd in entrance of him.

For most followers who’ve travelled to Qatar, the love and reverence for Maradona have been handed on from the earlier generations.

Soccer Football - Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Preview, Doha, Qatar - November 17, 2022 An Argentina Fan Poses In Front Of A Flag Of Argentina'S Lionel Messi And Former Player Diego Maradona Reuters/Hannah Mckay
An Argentina fan poses in entrance of a flag of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona in Doha, Qatar, on December 17, 2022 (Hannah Mckay/REUTERS)

Mauro, who has travelled from Cordoba in central Argentina, has been sporting a worn-out Maradona shirt to each match in Qatar. “My father bought it during the 1986 World Cup and passed it on to me,” he stated. “Along with the shirt, my father passed on his love for Diego and taught me that Maradona fought for all the unfortunate people in the world.”

Every time followers make their method to an Argentina match, Maradona’s title is on their lips after they sing their soccer anthems, his face is emblazoned on their banners, and his quantity is printed on their shirts.

“He’s in our hearts, our soul, our blood,” Matus stated whereas patting his chest, and added: “Maradona is Argentina, and Argentina is Maradona.”