Argentina thrashed Croatia 3-0 in the first FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-final on Wednesday with two goals from intrepid striker Julian Alvarez and a Lionel Messi penalty. This set up a championship match on Sunday against either France or Morocco. After leading 2-0 at the interval, Argentina did not give Croatia any opportunity to mount a comeback.
In the 34th minute, Messi scored his fifth goal of the competition from the penalty spot to break the scoreless tie. Before halftime, Alvarez scored to extend Argentina’s lead after making a single direct run through the center of Croatia’s defense.
Argentina, the two-time FIFA World Cup champs, will play France or Morocco, whoever wins Thursday’s semi-finals, in the championship game on Sunday. On the other hand, Croatia leaves the tournament after making another unexpected run to the quarterfinals but will fight for the third place. Messi called it amazing everything their team has seen and done throughout the World Cup, and the Argentina team would play in the championship, as they had hoped. Several football betting sites predict Argentina’s victory in the finals this season.
The match enabled Messi to become his country’s all-time top goal scorer, breaking Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 10 goals and contributing 11 goals in the World Cup. Besides, Messi also matched the record of Lothar Matthaus for being a part of the most Men’s World Cup matches (25)). Messi told Olé that the FIFA World Cup 2022 final in Qatar on Sunday would mark the culmination of his World Cup career.