2022 FIFA World Cup™: Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals

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Leo Messi can keep dreaming. And Luka Modric is crying. Thanks to the genius of their captain, Argentina defeated Croatia (3-0) in the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday and will play France or Morocco on Wednesday in the final on Sunday.

The Paris SG elf opened the scoring from the penalty spot (34th), Julian Alvarez doubled the lead (39th), and Messi doubled his team-mate’s set-piece after a phenomenal slalom in Croatia’s defense (69th). He also offered his country a sixth World Cup final after 1978 and 1986 and a chance for a third star.

Messi or Modric: at 35 and 37 years old respectively, one of these two stars of world football’s first greatness was bound to die at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Modric, 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, made his first selection in 2006 in a friendly against Argentina (3-2 for Croatia). This painful loss against Argentina may not be his last game if he makes it to Saturday’s third-place match. But it’s likely that we won’t see him in checkered form again in a major tournament.

Five minutes of madness

And Messi will once again lead the Albiceleste attack in the final against either rising star Kylian Mbappe or the formidable Moroccan star. If all goes well, he will break the World Cup appearances record with 26, more than Germany’s Lothar Matthaus (1982-1998).

And above all, he will try to crown his illustrious career with the only title still missing from his list that would have made him a legend in a country that has so far dedicated an exclusive cult to Maradona – the World Cup. , world champion in 1986.

Argentina-Croatia started with the wrong rhythm. The two teams were afraid of each other and did not give up, each playing their role. The Croatians had more possession, but their big talents, Modric, Brozovic or Kovacic, are scavengers and creators. Not the goalkeepers.

On the contrary, the Argentinians really did a great defense without leaving open chances. Then the South American champions opened the game in five minutes of madness with two similar moves.

Firstly, Alvarez is launched at the back of central defence, at the point of full axis. Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic comes out, but catches him. Penalty converted by Messi into the upper right corner of the goal (1-0, 34th).

Messi as a soloist

There is little time left to breathe and the same Alvarez recovers a new counter ball in his camp and again goes for a fantastic ride, full arrow. With a bit of luck, he takes advantage of two favorable counter-attacks to dislodge defenders who arrive too late, and with a fine shot, he eliminates the hapless Livakovic (2-0, 39th).

Headed by De Paul (41st) and Mac Allister (42nd), the Croatians were lucky not to concede a third goal before the break.

A few minutes after the break, Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic made a risky bet. Anxious to add more weight to Argentina’s central defense, he brought in Bruno Petkovic to replace Brozovic, one of the lungs of the midfield.

Wrong. Croatia inevitably opened gaps. After two more cautions for Livakovic’s goal, Messi played a solo number to the right of the surface to spawn Alvarez (69th). It was stated that the crowd was 3-0. Tens of thousands of “chinchas” dressed in the blue and white colors of Argentina could be enjoyed.

According to Croatian head coach Dalic, “a decent defeat”

Zlatko Dalic (head coach of the Croatian national team on Croatian national television):

“I congratulate Argentina on the victory. We must be together, we must raise our heads. I have nothing to blame my players. We have no complaints. We will fight for the third place. We created some good chances but no real chances. We were prepared, but a real striker was missing. We lost but I can’t blame the boys. They gave their best in this tournament. We have to prepare for the next game. It’s a deserved defeat. »

Lionel Messi on the microphone of the FIFA flash interview

“When you see (this enthusiasm), a lot goes through your head, you are very affected. As we said from the beginning, seeing all these people, this family since the start of the World Cup… What we are experiencing is incredible. Now we come to the endgame, which is what we wanted. (In his 25th World Cup match) I’ve been enjoying it all for a while, this World Cup, even if we started to lose, we were confident that this group would go forward. We wanted people to trust us because we know what we’re worth. This group is incredible, we did it, we did it, we will play another final… Argentina is in the World Cup final again! (On his family) He is everything to me, he is always with me, we have had good and bad days and today is an extraordinary moment, so you have to enjoy it with them and with all the people in Argentina. »

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