One of thousands of ticketless fans stood outside, the Argentinian said it would never have been louder for anyone else.
“If it was Croatia, there would have been silence. Everyone is for Messi,” added the 29-year-old who wore the number 10 Messi shirt in the sky blue and white colors of Argentina that the you see everywhere in Doha.
“It’s the first match against Argentina for which I couldn’t get a ticket,” said Santino Rosa, another Albiceleste fanatic.
“I’m unhappy not to be inside. But at least being here I know before anyone else that goals have been scored – and it’s even better if Messi has one.”
More than 35,000 Argentinian fans are said to have been in Qatar for the World Cup and many have stayed to see the countryside and be in the city if Messi finally wins the trophy.
Many were unable to secure tickets for the semi-final. Messi fanatics – from his home country and South Asian migrant workers – gathered on big screens across Doha.
Argentinian fans have created WhatsApp groups to track available tickets and even find accommodation for those in need.
“If we hear of a ticket, we try to help others,” Montez said. “But it was difficult for today, there were a lot of disappointed fans and it will be even worse for the final.”
The crowd outside the stadium grew as the match progressed.
Local families with children, all wearing blue and white shirts or Argentine flags painted on their cheeks, also watched the stadium with the hard core who traveled from South America. Some watched the game on cell phones.
Street traders began gathering to sell Argentinian and Croatian scarves for 50 riyals ($13), but struggled to find buyers.
Fifteen-year-old Aisha and Haya wore sky blue and white pom poms to match their shirts and waved their arms furiously as Julian Alvarez’s goals were heralded by further blowouts inside the stadium.
“We only really discovered football with the World Cup, but we know that Messi is special,” said Aisha. “It’s impossible to get tickets now but we’ll be away for the final again,” added Haya.
Thousands of people passed in front of the stadium to watch the match on a giant screen on Lusail Boulevard.
The FIFA Fan Festival near Doha’s waterfront closed before the start of the match when it reached its capacity of 40,000.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers gathered in more than 10 fan zones set up for them on the outskirts of Doha.
Argentina are the favorites of foreign workers whose treatment by Qatar has been in the spotlight ahead of the World Cup.
And Argentine shirts have become the most popular fashion accessory at the World Cup, whether in Doha’s high-end shopping malls or in the industrial zone.
While official shirts can cost $90 or more, knockoffs can be had for as little as three dollars at some high street stores.