Messi leads rout of Croatia as Argentina reach World Cup final

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Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to reach the World Cup final as Lionel Messi worked his magic to be one win away from winning the trophy he most desires.

The world (apart from France or Morocco) wants Messi to win this World Cup.

REPEAT OF THE FULL MATCH

Messi scored the opener from the penalty spot, then Julian Alvarez scored a superb second and Messi mesmerized us all to set up Alvarez to seal his double and Argentina’s spot in the final.

Croatia actually had the better chances before Argentina took the lead in the first half and the South American champions have never looked back as they have now reached two of the last three World Cup finals.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

They will play France or Morocco in the final on Sunday, while Croatia will play the loser of the other semi-final on Saturday for third place.


Messi and Alvarez the perfect double act

Messi slips between the lines and Alvarez stretches them. Together they form a deadly duo and have torn apart Croatia. Argentina had the perfect game plan as they sat back, soaked up the pressure and when they won back in midfield with a secondary press (led by the excellent Enzo Fernandez, Leandro Paredes and Alexis Mac Allister) they immediately played devastating. Messi is Messi, but he hasn’t really had another player at the top for so long who can take the pressure off him and give him the space to be at his best. He has that now in Álvarez, as his pace and relentless pressure open up so many opportunities for Messi. The balance of this Argentina side is perfect and they can cause so much trouble for a shaky French defense if it’s Les Bleus they’re up against in the final. Whoever they face, it seems almost impossible to stop Messi and Alvarez in this form.


Stars of the show

Lionel Messi: Who else!? Had magic when Argentina needed it and he feels it. The best World Cup of his esteemed career. So far.

Julian Alvarez: Scored two goals and won the penalty kick. His pace at the back gave Croatia so many problems. Works so well alongside Messi.

Luka Modric: What else can he do? The little genius was as silky smooth on the ball as ever and helped Croatia control the game right up to the opening goal. The veteran may not play in another World Cup, but he has put in another great performance, as has Mateo Kovacic, who will now do his best to take over Modric.

Graphic via FotMob.com

How to watch Argentina vs Croatia live! Score, updates, stream link, videos

kick off: 2 p.m. ET – Tuesday, December 13
Stadium: Lusail iconic stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming in Spanish: Peacock (all 64 games)

Amazing scenes at the final whistle as Messi and his teammates dance together on the pitch and celebrate with their fans as they bounce up and down.

GOALLL! After some pressure from Croatia, Argentina looked dangerous at half-time. Now they are leading 3-0. Messi squeezes past Gvardiol and sets Alvarez ready to finish. Goat doing goat things.

SAVEEEEE! What a stop from Livakovic as he pushes Mac Allister’s header onto the far post.

GOALLL! Julian Alvarez with a great run and he pushes his way through and scores. 2-0.

GOALLL! After a slow start, Argentina led. Alvarez knocked out by Livakovic and Lionel Messi steps up and scores the penalty kick. 1-0 to Argentina.


Main story lines, players to keep an eye on

It is clear that everyone will be keeping a close eye on Lionel Messi, as his ridiculous assist against the Netherlands showcased his otherworldly talents. Others have also championed Argentina, especially Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo de Paul and Alexis Mac Allister in midfield. In the back, players like Lisandro Martinez, Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi have had strong tournaments, while Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will miss this game due to a suspension.

Croatia has the talented and experienced trio of Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic holding the midfield position, while youngster Josko Gvardiol is sensational at centre-back and Borna Sosa also at left-back. Starring their penalty wins against Japan and Brazil was goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Croatia will need more heroics from him if they are to upset Argentina.


Argentina fast facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How They Qualified: Automatically Qualified from CONMEBOL (2nd Place)
Trainer: Lionel Scaloni
Main players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez
At the 2022 World Cup – Defeat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 2-2 draw

Croatia fast facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
Best ever World Cup finish – Second place in 2018
How they qualified: automatically qualified by UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Main players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic
At the 2022 World Cup – Beat Brazil 4-2 on penalties in quarter-finals after 1-1 draw



The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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