Whatever happens on the field, this World Cup will be special for Argentina.
This will likely be the last World Cup for Lionel Messi and the first since the death of Diego Maradona.
The Argentine great died exactly two years ago on Friday.
Maradona, his nation’s beloved soccer “God,” has attended every World Cup in Argentina since 1982 as a player and coach of the elder statesman.
Maradona died on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60, a date that most Argentines will never forget.
He died at home under hospital care following brain surgery, and coroners are continuing to investigate whether medical negligence was involved.
At the unveiling of a life-size statue of Maradona in Qatar on Friday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that a day would be set aside for Maradona’s celebration at every future World Cup.
Messi, who is playing in his fifth World Cup, told FIFA before the Qatar tournament that it was “strange, different” not to see Maradona in the stands or that “people go crazy when he shows up”.
He said he always felt Maradona would “be involved somewhere”.
Maradona played in four world championships in 1982-1994, and in 2010 he became the coach of the national team.