Argentina beat Croatia at Lusail Stadium to advance to their sixth World Cup final, thanks in large part to a brilliant performance from Lionel Messi. 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. After taking Messi's header just inside Croatian territory, Alvarez increased Argentina's advantage five minutes later. He then outran Livakovic with the help of fortunate bounces off of Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa. After the halftime, Messi mesmerised Croatia's star defender Josko Gvardiol on the byline before laying the ball off to Alvarez for the game-winning goal.
The Argentinian Lionel Messi will play on Sunday in Qatar World Cup Final as he is just 90 minutes away from earning the greatest honour of having a World Cup permanently associated with his name.