The dream run for Lionel Messi and Argentina at the Qatar World Cup continues. They defeat Croatia in the semifinals of the tournament by one of the biggest and easiest margins of 3-0 to mark toward their sixth World Cup final.
Lionel Messi must be elated, the fans of Argentia will be ecstatic after this victory and dominance of their team. But it was not as easy as a victory as the scoreline suggests.
From the very beginning of the game, Croatia had a strong hold of the possession. Argentina who plays on the same tactic, was pushed back into their own half. And with every Croatian attack a goal threat looked large.
Lionel Messi creates history for Argentina
Luka Modric, the orchestrator of Croatian midfield was marching his troops from all side. Looking for a leak in the watertight defense of Argentina, but sadly couldn’t find any.
However, this tactic of theirs made them vulnerable against counter attack. And that is what Argentina did in the 33rd minute of the game.
With Messi and Julian Alvarez combining, Argentina cut the Croatian defensive line in half. Alvarez was raring down on the goal when the Keeper brought him down.
A penalty was eminent and Lionel Messi made no mistake from the spot. He scored his 5th goal of the tournament and 11th overall world cup goal. That made him the all-time top scorer for Argentina.
The Croatians were not going to sit back and watch Argentina win the game. Hence, they threw more bodies forward in an attempt to salvage a goal. And yet again Argentina made the most of it.
Alvarez scores brace at the biggest stage
Once again it was Julian Alvarez who got the ball near the halfway line and made a fantastic run. He was lucky for the fact that Croatia couldn’t clear the ball on two occasions, but Alvarez kept going and got himself another goal in the 39th minute.
Argentina head into the halftime leading at 2-0.
The second half was no different, Croatia continued to play a high line. And Argentina kept threading them.
But if you ask an Argentina fan, they’ll say it was the best part of the entire tournament. Reason being a magical goal involvement by Lionel Messi.
A Vintage Messi show was witnessed at the Lusial Stadium. The little magician seemed to have turned back time with the kind of run he made from the left-hand side.
The best attack of the game however came from the right when Messi shrugged off three defenders at once. It was something that we had seen glimpses of earlier in the tournament. And once again, Messi did something similar.
He received the ball near the side life on the wide right-hand side and made a dart towards the box. In the process he shrugged off Lovren. Then at the edge of the box, he tricked Gvardiol, one of the best defenders of the tournament, and delivered an amazing pass to Alvarez in the box.
The youngster had nothing much to do, but to put it in a near empty net. And he didn’t miss. In the 69th minute of the game, Argentina sealed a place for themselves in the finals.
This is the last opportunity for Lionel Messi to lift the one trophy that has eluded him for quite a while now. Argentina will be playing their 6th final on Sunday against the winner of second semifinal between Morocco and France.
It will be a historic moment to witness Lionel Messi take the stage after 8 years of what happened in Brazil. Will he be able to win the World Cup or not remains to be seen.