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Fans at World Cup pay homage to Maradona with shirts and chants

Fans at World Cup pay homage to Maradona with shirts and chants

November 24, 2022 (AFP)

Javier Maluf will quietly put on a shirt worn by Diego Maradona against England, but other fans at the World Cup have more noisy plans for Friday's second anniversary of the death of the flawed genius.

Argentina's legion of supporters may also be praying to the sporting gods that the late football great can still inspire his country to victory over Mexico on Saturday to keep their hopes in Qatar alive.

Maluf is like many Argentina fans who have never fully recovered from Maradona's death from a heart attack at the age of 60.

The shirt that Maradona wore during a game against England at Wembley in 1980 is the prized item in Maluf's collection of 1,000 game-worn football jerseys that he estimates is worth $1 million.

"I will put it on for a while as a sign of respect," he told AFP at his Doha home, where the shirts and other souvenirs are kept.

"We all know his story but we all know his impact on the game." 

A respected memorabilia sleuth, Maluf, 56, also has a blood-stained Argentina shirt worn by Mario Kempes in a 1978 World Cup game against France.

That is folded near a River Plate shirt worn in 1931 by Carlos Peucelle, who played in the first World Cup a year earlier.

Memorabilia is now big business, with Maradona items much sought after.

In May, a shirt worn by the Argentina forward when he scored his infamous 1986 World Cup "Hand of God" goal against England sold at auction for $9.3 million.

The ball that he fisted into the England net sold this month for £2 million ($2.4 million).

The shirt is on display at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum during the World Cup but Maluf is among fans who believe that it belongs in Argentina.

"It would be good if it goes to Argentina one day, so that all the public can see it and feel the importance," he said.

More than 30,000 Argentina fans are in Qatar for this year's tournament and while many worship current number 10 Lionel Messi, Maradona's name still carries an almost mystical force.

Pilgrimage

Many have been on a pilgrimage to a giant Maradona mural near the Khalifa stadium in Doha.

At Argentina's first game -- a shock 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia -- there were Maradona masks, banners and shirts on display in the stadium.

And aficionados say there will be many public tributes to Maradona on Friday.

One group plans a march to the Maradona FanFest at Doha's international airport.

The main attraction there is a hologram of the player plus a "tribute jet" bearing images of Maradona that will be auctioned, with a chunk of the proceeds going to charity.

Diego and Churi Veliz went to Monday's game wearing headgear emblazoned with Maradona sitting on a camel. They took countless selfies with Arab football fans.

Gonzalo, a 32-year-old Buenos Aires lawyer, recalled the shock of finding out about Maradona's death.

"I was on the beach, my girlfriend told me and I said we had to grab our things and go straight back to Buenos Aires." They were among thousands who waited outside Maradona's house.

Claudio carried a flag showing Maradona embracing Messi, which will be seen again when Argentina take on Mexico.

Laura Valero, who borrowed $8,000 to make the trip to Qatar, said she was "recovering" from the defeat. 

"I will be wearing a Maradona shirt because you have to believe in something," she said of the looming anniversary and game.


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Group Stage

Group A
Nov 20, 11:00amAl Khor
Qatar 0 - 2 Ecuador
Nov 21, 11:00amDoha
Senegal 0 - 2 Netherlands
Nov 25, 8:00amDoha
Qatar 1 - 3 Senegal
Nov 25, 11:00amAl Rayyan
Netherlands 1 - 1 Ecuador
Nov 29, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Ecuador 1 - 2 Senegal
Nov 29, 10:00amAl Khor
Netherlands 2 - 0 Qatar
Group B
Nov 21, 8:00amAl Rayyan
England 6 - 2 Iran
Nov 21, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
USA 1 - 1 Wales
Nov 25, 5:00amAl Rayyan
Wales 0 - 2 Iran
Nov 25, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
England 0 - 0 USA
Nov 29, 2:00pmDoha
Iran 0 - 1 USA
Nov 29, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Wales 0 - 3 England
Group C
Nov 22, 5:00amLusail
Argentina 1 - 2 Saudi Arabia
Nov 22, 11:00amDoha
Mexico 0 - 0 Poland
Nov 26, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Poland 2 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Nov 26, 2:00pmLusail
Argentina 2 - 0 Mexico
Nov 30, 2:00pmDoha
Poland vs Argentina
Nov 30, 2:00pmLusail
Saudi Arabia vs Mexico
Group D
Nov 22, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Denmark 0 - 0 Tunisia
Nov 22, 2:00pmAl Wakrah
France 4 - 1 Australia
Nov 26, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Tunisia 0 - 1 Australia
Nov 26, 11:00amDoha
France 2 - 1 Denmark
Nov 30, 10:00amAl Wakrah
Australia vs Denmark
Nov 30, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Tunisia vs France
Group E
Nov 23, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Germany 1 - 2 Japan
Nov 23, 11:00amDoha
Spain 7 - 0 Costa Rica
Nov 27, 5:00amAl Rayyan
Japan 0 - 1 Costa Rica
Nov 27, 2:00pmAl Khor
Spain 1 - 1 Germany
Dec 1, 2:00pmAl Khor
Costa Rica vs Germany
Dec 1, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Japan vs Spain
Group F
Nov 23, 5:00amAl Khor
Morocco 0 - 0 Croatia
Nov 23, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Belgium 1 - 0 Canada
Nov 27, 8:00amDoha
Belgium 0 - 2 Morocco
Nov 27, 11:00amAl Rayyan
Croatia 4 - 1 Canada
Dec 1, 10:00amDoha
Canada vs Morocco
Dec 1, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Croatia vs Belgium
Group G
Nov 24, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Switzerland 1 - 0 Cameroon
Nov 24, 2:00pmLusail
Brazil 2 - 0 Serbia
Nov 28, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Cameroon 3 - 3 Serbia
Nov 28, 11:00amDoha
Brazil 1 - 0 Switzerland
Dec 2, 2:00pmLusail
Cameroon vs Brazil
Dec 2, 2:00pmDoha
Serbia vs Switzerland
Group H
Nov 24, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Uruguay 0 - 0 Korea Republic
Nov 24, 11:00amDoha
Portugal 3 - 2 Ghana
Nov 28, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Korea Republic 2 - 3 Ghana
Nov 28, 2:00pmLusail
Portugal 2 - 0 Uruguay
Dec 2, 10:00amAl Wakrah
Ghana vs Uruguay
Dec 2, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Korea Republic vs Portugal
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Dec 3, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Netherlands vs USA
Dec 3, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
1st Group C vs 2nd Group D
Dec 4, 10:00amDoha
1st Group D vs 2nd Group C
Dec 4, 2:00pmAl Khor
England vs Senegal
Round of 16
Dec 5, 10:00amAl Wakrah
1st Group E vs 2nd Group F
Dec 5, 2:00pmDoha
1st Group G vs 2nd Group H
Dec 6, 10:00amAl Rayyan
1st Group F vs 2nd Group E
Dec 6, 2:00pmLusail
1st Group H vs 2nd Group G
Quarter Final
Dec 9, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Winner Match 53 vs Winner Match 54
Dec 9, 2:00pmLusail
Winner Match 49 vs Winner Match 50
Dec 10, 10:00amDoha
Winner Match 55 vs Winner Match 56
Dec 10, 2:00pmAl Khor
Winner Match 51 vs Winner Match 52
Semi-final
Dec 13, 2:00pmLusail
Winner Quarter-final 1 vs Winner Quarter-final 2
Dec 14, 2:00pmAl Khor
Winner Quarter-final 3 vs Winner Quarter-final 4
Third place match
Dec 17, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Loser Semi-final 1 vs Loser Semi-final 2
Final