Doha, Qatar – This year’s Qatar National Day has been especially festive as World Cup fans gear up for the finals match between France and Argentina at Lusail Stadium, approximately 25km north of Doha.
December 18 marks the unification of Qatar in 1878 under the leadership of the country’s founder, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, and the day has been celebrated annually since 2007.
Football fans filled the streets in Doha, dressed in light blue and white Argentina jerseys, chanting songs in Spanish in support of the South American finalist.
Others were seen draped in the French “tricolore”, while flags of the 32 World Cup participating teams covered Lusail Boulevard.
Visitors celebrated throughout the day while an air show was on display above the city.
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani congratulated Qataris and residents on Twitter, saying “this year coincides with a festive atmosphere with Qatar’s guests from all over the world at the end of an exceptional world football tournament.
“Every year, Qatar is in glory and elevation, and may God keep our country safe, secure and stable”.
National Day celebrations and activities were also held in Doha’s Katara and the Mall of Qatar as well as in the town of Umm Salal Mohammed.