Messi and Alvarez fire Argentina past Croatia into World Cup final - GulfToday

Messi and Alvarez fire Argentina past Croatia into World Cup final

Argentina's forward Julian Alvarez celebrates with #10 Lionel Messi after scoring his team's second goal at Lusail Stadium. AFP

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter

A Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina thumped 2018 runners-up Croatia 3-0 on Tuesday to set up a World Cup final against either France or Morocco.

Julian Alvarez scored a brace and Messi one as Argentina defeated Croatia in the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia lived up to its billing.

The atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium in Doha was electrifying as the fans of both the teams kept on singing and dancing to encourage their players.

It was Argentina who broke the deadlock in the 34th minute when Lionel Messi scored the first goal through a penalty.

Dominik Livakovic of Croatia had a rough tackle, which prompted the referee to award a penalty kick to Argentina.

And Argentina coach once again pinned his hopes on his best players and Messi lived up to his billing, as he flummoxed the goalkeeper to put Argentina 1-0.
Messi’s strike put Croatia on the back foot and they sort of came under pressure as they started to freak.

Five minutes later, Alvarez also sprang into action to follow the footsteps of his skipper and found the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Croatia were pushed on the back foot completely and had a lot of catching-up to do.

They kept on trying to curtail the deficit but failed to convert their chances into goals.

 After the half-time, Argentina added one more to their tally through Alvarez.
Meanwhile the Argentine fans were elated as they already seemed to have assumed that they had made it to the final.

They sang and danced throughout the match as Argentina showed a spirited performance.
Lineups for the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia:

Emiliano Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina, Alexis Mac Allister, Leandro Paredes, Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo De Paul, Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi.

Dominik Livaković, Dejan Lovren, Borna Sosa, Joško Gvardiol, Josip Juranović, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Luka Modrić, Mario Pasalic, Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić.

Lionel Messi and Luka Modric have led Argentina and Croatia to the final four with stellar performances, and both are looking to cap their careers with a World Cup title.
Messi and Argentina lost in the 2014 final to Germany, and Modric and Croatia lost in the 2018 final to France.

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