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Messi, Alvarez power Argentina cruise past Croatia and into FIFA WC Final


Source: AFP

LUSAIL: Star player Lionel Messi struck on penalty before Julian Alvarez struck twice to power Argentina to seal a dominating 3-0 victory over Croatia and qualified for the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Following their emphatic victory, the two-time champions Argentina seized a final berth after a hiatus of eight years when they last took on Germany in the 2014 edition.

Messi, who is keen to cap off his amazing career by winning his first World Cup, helped his team to victory with a superbly struck first-half penalty and sealed the victory by expertly producing the third goal.

Dominik Livakovic accurately predicted Messi’s intention to go to his left, but his dive went in vain as the Argentine’s brilliantly executed shot sailed high into the net to put his team up 1-0 in the 34th minute.

Argentina doubled their lead five minutes later when, following a break from a corner, Alvarez scooped up the ball within his own half and began a long dribble towards the goal.

With the Croatian defence retreating, Alvarez rode weak tackles from Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa before slipping the ball past Livakovic to give Argentina complete control in the first half.

Messi then produced a scintillating assist in the second half, tormenting Josko Gvardial down the right before leaving the 20-year-old defender behind and pulling the ball back to Alvarez who calmly slotted home to guarantee a dominating victory.

Argentina will now either take on spirited Morocco or holders France in the final on Sunday and will be heavily backing themselves to lift their third title as they are peaking at the right time in the ongoing World Cup.

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