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2022 FIFA World Cup: Argentina secure ticket to Final on 3-0 win over Croatia

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2022. 3:12 pm CST.

Photo Credit: FIFA

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Lionel Messi set the groundwork and Julián Álvarez scored the goals for Argentina to dump Croatia 3-0 out of the FIFA World Cup in the first semifinal at the Lusail Stadium in Al Daayen. What was supposed to be the most difficult game for Argentina turned out to be a comfortable win.

What was supposed to be the most difficult game for Argentina turned out to be a comfortable win.

The 88,966 fans who filled the stands at the biggest stadium in Qatar were treated to a great football show. Argentina are now unbeaten in five World Cup semifinals. Coincidentally, Croatia beat them 3-0 in the 2018 Group Stage.

The first 30 minutes were quite tight with both teams not giving the other much operating space. Argentina were more offensive-minded but Croatia were very orderly in defence, trapping the Messi-led troops when they approached the final third of the field. But Messi started finding his way in and the Argentines gained confidence resulting in a foray into the penalty box by Álvarez in the 32nd minute. Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic had to cut down Álvarez as he dribbled his way into the penalty area. Italian referee Daniele Orsato awarded Argentina a penalty kick and booked both Livakovic and defender Mateo Kovacic.

Messi stepped up in the 34th minute, blasted a powerful shot past Livakovic. The keeper guessed right but the shot was too strong. Messi had scored his 5th goal in this World Cup and his 11th overall, surpassing Gabriel Bastistuta as Argentina’s top World Cup scorer.

Then in the 39th minute, Álvarez worked his way through the defence and powered a right foot shot as Livakovic came out, for the 2-0 lead.

The third and final goal came in the 69th minute after superb dribbling by Lionel Messi up the right wing, cutting into the box, beating Josko Gvardiol twice, passing the ball to Julián Álvarez between Gvardiol’s legs. Álvarez just had to tap it in.

Argentina had secured their ticket to the Final on Sunday at 1:00pm at the same stadium against either Morocco or defending champions France, who play the second Semifinal on Wednesday.


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