Argentina was comfortable with a two goal lead against Netherlands in the quarter-finals of FIFA World Cup 2022 until the 83rd minute of the game. Dutchman Weghorst scores twice in the last 10 minutes to put thousands of sky-blue fans on the edge.
The game sees a record number of cards, a couple of fights and a rarely aggressive Lionel Messi before it ends in favour of the Latin American side in a penalty shootout.
But one Argentina fan at the Lusail Stadium missed it all after Weghorst’s first goal. Farook, a diehard fan of Albicelestes, walked out as he could no longer take the “tension”. He would remain in the stadium, listening to the noisy fans to understand the fate of his team.
It was the famous quarter-finals between Argentina and Germany in 2006, ironically a game that ended in a penalty shootout in favour of Germany, which stopped Farook from watching the Albicelestes play major games.
“It became very hard after that,” Farook says. “My brother gave me his ticket to this game. He scolded me for missing the best part but I couldn’t [watch it]”.
“He stays awake for any other match and sleeps for Argentina match,” Farook’s brother Faseeh wrote on Instagram.
Farook, an Assistant Professor from Kozhikode, a district in India’s southern state Kerala, became a fan of Argentina in 1994 when he first watched the World Cup.
“Not every house had television then. I watched the game with my uncles who were fans of Maradona’s Argentina,” he recalls.
The legendary footballer, Maradona will only play two games, scoring one goal against Greece, before he gets sent home after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping. But the drama and the tales of the man from others will make Farook fall in love with Maradona.
The first World Cup in the Arab region has given many fans from South Asia a chance to see their favourite teams play the biggest sporting event in the world. The overwhelming presence of football fans from Kerala in Qatar oftentimes baffled many Western media.
Unlike many Argentina fans, the 36-year-old is not here cheering the blue and white for Lionel Messi. Maradona, Riquelme comes before Messi for him.
This will be the last chance for Lionel Messi to win the World Cup as the 35-year-old is in his best form since the beginning of the tournament.
Farook felt sad to see Brazil, the arch-rivals of Argentina, exit the tournament on the same night.
“Everyone secretly expected the results will be the other way around — Argentina will lose and Brazil will advance. But it’s all close games so far.”
Farook also has an impression that Argentina losses when he watches the game. The says he will voluntarily miss the game as he prepares for the pilgrim to Makkah in the coming days.
“I will pray for World Cup from Haram,” Farook added.
Argentina will play against Croatia on Tuesday in the first semifinal.