Magical Messi leads Argentina to World Cup final

The South American’s routed Croatia out of the tournament 3-0 to enter their sixth Fifa World Cup final

By Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha

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Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates their third goal scored by Julian Alvarez. Photo: Reuters
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates their third goal scored by Julian Alvarez. Photo: Reuters

Published: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 12:41 AM

Last updated: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 1:21 AM

A Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina ruthlessly dismantled Croatia 3-0 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Tuesday night to storm into the final of the World Cup.

A brace from Manchester City striker wonderkid Julian Alvarez (39th minute and 69th minute) and one goal from Messi (34th minute from a penalty) and moments of absolute magic from the talismanic playmaker put the 2018 World Cup runners up to the sword.

With the comprehensive victory, Argentina have kept their hopes of ending the 36-year wait for the World Cup title alive.

They will now take on the winner of the second semifinal between defending champions France and Morocco.

After a bright start from Croatia, who were passing the ball around majestically, Argentine found their groove and the first goal came after a foul on Alvarez.

Messi found the back of the net with a composed finish, sending the vast majority of the 88,966 people at the stadium into a state of frenzy.

The second goal came five minutes later following a strong run from Alvarez from the half line.

The 22-year-old striker caused panic in the Croatian box with his skills and strength before he chipped the ball over the goalkeeper after a rebound.

With a comfortable 2-0 lead, Argentina were controlling the game as every Croatian attack opened spaces for the Argentines to attack.

It was from one of those spaces created by Croatia’s desperation that Messi found himself with the ball in the right flank.

The magician ran at the Croatian defence, twisting and turning with the ball glued to his feet before sending a cross to Alvarez for the simplest of goals from inside the box.

After delivering arguably the finest performance in a World Cup knockout match, Messi will be now brimming with confidence for the final on Sunday.


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