Argentina beat Croatia at Lusail Stadium to go to their sixth World Cup final behind Lionel Messi’s spectacular performance.
Messi now has one more opportunity to win the title that has eluded him throughout his trophy-laden career, but 22-year-old Julian Alvarez of Manchester City also sparkled as Argentina assured they would return here on Sunday to play either France or Morocco.
Messi initially appeared to be having hamstring trouble, but after 34 minutes, when Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic fouled the roving Alvarez, Messi was able to recover enough to score from the spot.
Five minutes later, Alvarez doubled Argentina’s advantage after receiving Messi’s header just inside Croatian territory, going on a slaloming run, and then defeating Livakovic with the help of fortunate bounces off of Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa.
After halftime, Croatia’s superb defender Josko Gvardiol was mesmerised by Messi on the byline before being set up by Alvarez for the game-winning goal. This magnificent third period was entirely due to skill and strategy.
Messi will now have the chance to atone for the heartbreaking disappointment of falling to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final at Rio’s legendary Maracana.
Argentina will now face the winner between Morocco and France on Sunday, December, 18, 2022.