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Qatar 2022: Argentina 3 Croatia 0

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Argentina booked their place in the World Cup final after a historic performance from Lionel Messi inspired them to a comfortable victory over underdogs Croatia.

The South American side will have the chance to win a third World Cup trophy on Sunday thanks to a goal from Messi and a spirited Julian Álvarez scoring a brace.
Croatia began the encounter the better of the two sides, dominating possession in the early stages but struggling to deliver an end product.

Meanwhile, Croatian shot stopper Dominik Livaković was called upon early to turn away Enzo Fernández’s effort from 25 yards out in the game’s first real flashpoint. Unfortunately, Livaković, a standout performer in the tournament to date, went from hero to zero after giving away a penalty in the 33rd minute after bringing Álvarez down in the box.

Knowing they had to drastically change their approach, Croatia committed a lot more men forward at the start of the second half. But as expected, their bombastic approach provided Argentina with a constant threat on the counter attack. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the battle was over in the 69th minute thanks to another moment of pure magic from countering master Messi, who dribbled in and around Joško Gvardiol, before squaring the ball to Álvarez, who tapped in his second of the night from close range and confirmed Argentina’s place in the WC final.

Having swept Croatia aside tonight, the Argentines will meet reigning WC holders France or surprise package Morocco in Lusail on Sunday. Most recently world champions in 1986, the weight of a generation – in what is also the nation’s first final following the death of Diego Maradona – rests on the shoulders of Messi and co, with the PSG icon himself knowing that his last chance to lift the greatest prize of all is now just days away.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=83804

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