Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to reach the World Cup final and Lionel Messi worked his magic to go one win away from lifting the coveted trophy.

The world (except France or Morocco) wants Messi to win this World Cup.

Replay full match.

Messi scored the opener with a free-kick, then Julian Alvarez scored a brilliant second and Messi then set up Alvarez to set up two and Argentina in the final.

Croatia had the better chances in the first half before Argentina took the lead and the South American champions, now in two of their last three World Cup finals, have never looked back.

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They will play either France or Morocco in Sunday’s final, while Croatia will play the loser of the other semi-final in the third-place match on Saturday.


Messi and Alvarez perfect double act

Messi slips between the lines and Alvarez lays them out. Together they are a deadly duo and they tore the Croatian apart. Argentina sat back, played under pressure, played directly in devastating fashion as they took second press and won into midfield (led by the excellent Enzo Fernandez, Leandro Paredes and Alexis McAllister). Messi is Messi but for a long time he has not found another dominant player to take the pressure off him and give him the space to be at his best. That’s what Alvarez has now, as his pace and relentless pressure open up plenty of opportunities for Messi. The balance of this Argentinian side is spot on and a shaky French defense could cause a lot of problems if Les Bleus meet in the final. Whoever they face, it seems impossible to stop Messi and Alvarez in such form.


The stars of the show

Lionel Messi: Who else!? Argentina has had magic when it needs it and is feeling it. The celebrated career best World Cup. up to date.

Julian Alvarez: Scored two goals and won a penalty shootout. His pace at the back caused Croatia many problems. Works well with Messi.

Luka Modric: What more can he do? The diminutive genius was brilliant on the ball as always and helped Croatia dominate the game until the opening stages. The veteran may not feature in another World Cup, but he produced another impressive display and Mateo Kovacic will also be doing his best to succeed Modric.

Graphic via FotMob.com

How to watch Argentina vs Croatia live! Score, updates, stream link, videos

kick off: 2 p.m. – Tuesday, December 13
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo
Streaming in Español: Peacock (All 64 matches)

Amazing scenes at the final whistle as Messi and his friends dance together on the pitch and cheer and get down with the fans.

Goll! After some pressure from Croatia, Argentina looked dangerous on the break. They are now 3-0. Messi set up Alvarez by twisting Gordiol. A goat doing goat things.

SAVEEE! What a stop when Livakovic pushes McAllister’s header at the far post.

Goll! Julian Álvarez made a spectacular run to score a goal. 2-0

Goll! After a slow start, Argentina take the lead. Álvarez stepped up to beat Livakovic and Lionel Messi. 1-0 to Argentina


Key stories, players watching closely

Lionel Messi’s comical assist against the Netherlands showed off his otherworldly skills and it was clear everyone was watching closely. Others stood out for Argentina, notably Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo de Paul and Alexis McAllister in midfield. At the back, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi have put in strong performances, while Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will miss this game through suspension.

Croatia have a talented and experienced trio of Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic manning the attacking midfield, while young Josko Vardiol is impressive at centre-back and Borna Sosa is impressive on the left. Dominik Livakovic was the star goalkeeper in the penalty shootout wins over Japan and Brazil, and Croatia will need more heroics if they are to upset Argentina.


Fast facts of Argentina

Current FIFA World Ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup Games: 17
How you qualified: Automatically qualified from CONMEBOL (2nd stage).
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez
In the year 2022 World Cup – Defeated Netherlands 4-3 on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 2-2 draw.

Croatia fast facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 12
World Cup Champions: 0
World Cup Games: 6
The best World Cup final of all time – they ran in 2018
How you qualified: Automatically qualified from UEFA (1st place).
Coach: Zlatko Dalik
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic
2022 World Cup – Beat Brazil 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 1-1 draw.




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