Lionel Messi made history as he led Argentina to thrash Croatia 3-0 to book a spot in the FIFA World Cup final in Qatar.
Seven of Argentina’s 11 goals in the competition so far involved Lionel Messi.
Ahead of the knockout round, Argentina won their group, while Croatia came in second place, trailing only Morocco.
In five head-to-head games, both teams earned two victories.
For the semifinal, both teams sang along to their respective national anthems as they lined up on the field.
The classic blue and white colors of Argentina graced the pitch as they started the game with a 4-4-2 formation.
While doing so, Croatia wore their navy blue uniform and used their standard 4-1-2-3 formation.
Despite Croatia controlling the ball for the duration of the opening exchanges, Argentina sought to progress across the field.
With tonight’s game against Croatia, the Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi, tied great German midfielder Lothar Matthaus for most appearances on the field in the history of the World Cup.
Croatia were able to take advantage of the Argentine press which appeared to be muzzled slightly by pushing up the flanks and rupturing the lines.
During the game, whenever Argentina win the ball, Croatia were eager to seize the opportunity and win it back.
Croatia, however, controlled the game in the first 20 minutes allowing Argentina to chase the game.
The 88,966-seat Lusail Stadium didn’t seem to have a single vacant seat.The majority of the spectators were wearing Argentina’s sky blue and white.
However, scanty Croatian white and red could be seen in the stands at the stadium as the game progressed.
After a stressful first 20 minutes, the tens of thousands of La Albiceleste supporters started to find their voices.
Argentina was unexpectedly awarded a penalty towards the last part of the first half.
Alvarez was one-on-one with the goalie after the counterattack was launched when Perisic failed to stop Martinez off the line at the other end.
After the striker attempted to score, the goalkeeper was forced to bring him down.
With the penalty goal, Messi has tied Kylian Mbappe for the most goals scored in the competition so far. The two PSG’s stars have scored five Qatar World Cup goals each.
Alvarez who was fouled earlier scored his goal less than five minutes after Lionel Messi gave Argentina the lead from the spot.
Argentina went up 2-0 thanks to a magnificent single effort from Alvarez, leaving Croatia in a dangerous situation.
Afterward, Messi sent a ferocious ball into the area as Argentina won a corner from the left side.
The ball was received by Mac Allister, who attempted to head it downward into the bottom corner of the far post, but Livakovic was able to get a key hand on it to stop the ball from going in.
The first half came to a close after a four-minute added time elapsed.
In the second half, Vlasic and Orsic replaced Pasalic and Sosa for Croatia.
Croatia was actively seeking a clean opening in and around the Argentina goal very early in the second half.
While the South American side was heavily fortified and on the lookout for counterattacks.
Afterward, Paredes replaced Lisandro Martinez as Argentina made their first defense-tightening alteration.
With a decisive run from their talisman Lionel Messi, the South Americans increased their lead to three.
As he ran down toward the right touchline with Gvardiol right behind him, Messi displayed a masterclass.
Despite many pokes and prods, he managed to keep the Croatian at bay.
He made it all the way to the box and found Alvarez who slotted it home to give Argentina a 3-0 lead.
The match ended with Croatia taking off Luka Modric after the midfield legend failed to help his team secure a spot in the final.
Croatia conceded as many goals against Argentina (3), as they had in the whole tournament up to this point.
The referee brought the match to a close after Argentina successfully knocked out Croatia in regular time. Now, the Argentine team will have to wait on the sidelines for the outcome of Wednesday’s match between France and Morocco to know who they will face in the final of the World Cup.