Argentina vs Croatia, Semi Final: Lionel Messi, Julian Alvarez power Argentina to FIFA World Cup Final
New Delhi : Julian Alvarez scored two goals and Lionel Messi scored one goal to power Argentina to the final of FIFA World Cup 2022 with a 3-0 win over Croatia in the semi-final game played at the Lusail Stadium on Wednesday (IST).
With this Lionel Messi's Argentina will now face either France or Morocco in the final game. This is the sixth time when Argentina has stormed into the World Cup final overall and their second in eight years. Meanwhile, Croatia will now face the loser of the second semi-final in the third-place play-off.
In the 32nd minute, Julian Alvarez went one-on-one with Croatian keeper Dominik Livakovic who brought Alvarez down - winning a penalty kick. Argentina star Lionel Messi then stepped up to do what he seemingly always does. Calmly and coolly, he punched the ball high and to the right giving his side a 1-0 lead.
Alvarez wasn't done. In the 39th minute, he led a counterattack and dribbled all the way from midfield, sprinted through three Croatian defenders, and lofted the ball past Livakovic to give Argentina a 2-0 lead at the half.
In the 69th minute, Messi had a flash of unbelievable ballhandling against Croatia defender Joško Gvardiol on the right side of the goal. Messi then found Álvarez who powered it in for the 3-0 lead.
Lionel Messi for golden boot
It was Messi's fifth goal of the tournament (and his third assist), moving him just ahead of France's Kylian Mbappé (five goals and two assists) for the tournament lead in the Golden Boot competition.