Playing in his fifth World Cup, Lionel Messi delivered a legendary performance that will be remembered by his hometown and fans worldwide
Argentina and Croatia face off in the World Cup semi-finals at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, with Lionel Messi taking the win 3-0.
The match opened up, appearing to be an even challenge for both sides, as Croatia barricaded the pitch with tough defence.
Offensively, Luka Modric led his team with a calm approach against the South Americans edging the possession into their feet.
Twenty minutes into the match, Argentina formed a better attack despite an upright corner attack by Modric.
Julian Alvarez makes a run into the goal yet is fouled by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, who is booked with a yellow card in the 32nd minute.
Messi is called in for the penalty and slushes it into the top right corner leaving the stadium trembling with cheers.
The goal sets a record for Messi at 11, the most of any Argentina player in the competition’s history.
Minutes later, a confident Argentina squad writes in another goal at a fast break, with Alvarez nailing it in the 39th minute.
Looking to make it 3-0, Argentina won a corner from the left side, with Messi sending in a searching ball into the box to Mac Allister, who strives a downward header towards the bottom corner, but Livakovic barely sends it away.
At halftime, Croatia leads the possession at 61.6% with 0 shots on target, while Argentina has 4 shots.
After the half, Argentina made it clear that they were here to win as they continued to attack the pitch with subtle defence from Croatia, who seemed out of focus.
The match came to a balance later in the game, yet it seemed too little too late for the Croatians, who were close to making it count with a header from Dejan Lovren in the 62nd minute.
Deep in the match, the match was tense as Cristian Romero was booked for a yellow card.
Yet, the foul only encouraged the Argentinians as Alvarez sent the ball to the net with a clutch assist from Messi in the 69th minute.
At 3-0, Croatia stood desperate to draw it in, yet couldn’t find any opportunities bringing an end to Luka Modric’s World Cup dream.