‘Embarrassing’: World Cup final plays out in front of thousands of empty seats

The Qatar World Cup final played out in front of thousands of empty seats on Sunday, as Argentina took on France at Lusail Stadium.

Despite a significant number of Argentina fans turning up with hopes of seeing Lionel Messi claim the one trophy that has long eluded him, the stadium was not full in time for the opening whistle.

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Once the second half began, with Argentina leading defending champions France 2-0 thanks to a Messi penalty and Angel Di Maria strike, the number of empty seats had increased drastically.

Thousands of seats at the 88,966-capacity stadium were empty, and they did not fill out even as the game progressed.

“It’s the World Cup final! Should be a huge embarrassment for [governing body] fifa,” wrote one Twitter user.

“The people who have the tickets for the swathes of empty seats at the start of the second half of the World Cup final should get lifetime bans from all football activity,” wrote another.

Another tweet read: “Empty seats at a World Cup final kinda shatters the myth that this tournament has been a success.”

Another user echoed that sentiment, tweeting: “Empty seats everywhere as the second half starts? Exploding the myth that Qatar is football mad. Embarrassing for Qatar, embarrassing for FIFA.”

France and Argentina both entered Sunday’s final as two-time world champions, with Argentina’s last triumph having come in 1986, while Les Bleus were winners four years ago.

Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot (watch here) after Di Maria was fouled by France winger Ousmane Dembele in the French box, before Di Maria found the net himself later in the first half.