The duo of Messi-Alvarez disrupted the reliable defense of Croatia. As a result, Argentina won with spectacular football. Argentina will play 6th final and equaled Italy and Brazil Messi equaled Mbappe with 5 goals.
The identity of the first finalist at the World Championship was revealed. Argentina did not leave Croatia a chance and beat them with beautiful football. The best player of the match was again Leo Messi, who equaled Lothar Mathews with his 25th match at the World Cup.
There was full parity at the start of the match. Among them is even escaping from the pressure between Messi and Modric. The Croatians controlled the ball. Both teams played pressing at a very high pace, and movement on the field without the ball was ideal.
We saw the first accurate shot in the 25th minute. Messi shot from a distance, but Livakovic blocked it. In the same minute, Messi lost the ball for the first time. Joško Gvardiol was the author of the takeover.
In the 32nd minute, Croatia’s collapsed for the first time. After the vertical passes ball was already in the final third, against Julian Alvarez Dominik Livakovic was fouled in the penalty area. Daniele Orsato showed the Croatian goalkeeper yellow card and awarded a penalty.
Leo Messi turned it into a goal with brilliant kick and scored the 5th goal in the tournament. He equaled Kylian Mbappé. PSG attackers lead scoresheets. Leo surpassed Gabriel Omar Batistuta with this goal and became Argentina’s best scorer at the World Cups with 11 goals.
In the 38th minute, instead of crossing in the box the Croatians played the corner with a short pass again and again awkwardly. Argentina started a counterattack. Julian Alvarez scored the 3rd goal of the tournament.
The forward of Manchester City covered 50 meters with the ball, and his teammates brilliantly freed him the zones without the ball. Albiceleste was also lucky – there were two unsuccessful touches from defenders . After several attempts, Borna Sosa failed to get the ball out of box, and Alvarez shook the net of Livakovic’s goal again. This was the third mistake, and foul of the Stuttgart left back in this match.
The moment caused a sea of emotions in the stands. Among them, the audience saw the applause of the legendary Ronaldinho.
In the 43rd minute, Livakovic once again saved his team. Alexis Mac Allister’s header threatened to hit the opponent’s goal. Before that, de Paul appealed for handball in the box. However, the area of the defender body was not increased during the contact between the hand and the ball, so the second penalty was not awarded for Albiseleste.
🔎 | FOCUS— Sofascore (@SofascoreINT) December 13, 2022
Lionel Messi put in another memorable display at #Qatar2022 tonight:
👌 63 touches
⚽️ 1 goal
🎯 2 shots/2 on target (0.92 total xG)
🅰️ 1 assist
🎁 2 big chances created
👟 34/40 accurate passes
💨 5/7 successful dribbles
📈 7.9 Sofascore rating#ARGCRO #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/KBHxwWk9D2
After the 25th minute, the Croatians haven’t achieved anything in attack. The individual flashes of Modric and Kovacic created no danger in the final third.
Zlatko Dalic made three changes at the start of the second half. Orsic, Vlasic, and Petkovic entered the field to strengthen the attack.
Lionel Scalloni’s team was still the first to have a dangerous attack. However, Livakovic saved Messi’s shot from a sharp angle.
At the start of the second half, Argentina’s 4-4-1-1 formation became 4-3-2-1 in defense. During the mass attacks of the Croatians, all Argentines were often pressed in their quarter. Then Scaloni replaced Leandro Paredes with Lisandro Martinez. The 3rd center back made Argentina even more solid in backline.
The magic of Messi
In the 69th minute, we saw Leo Messi’s next step towards becoming the best player of the World Cup. Albiceleste captain made Julian Alvarez to score a brace. Messi gave a masterclass to Joško Gvardiol, who was personally marked to him.
Julián Álvarez(22y 316d) is the youngest player to score twice in a World Cup semi-final or final since Pelé in 1958 (17y 249d).
The Croatians had their first accurate shot on goal in the 73rd minute when Perisic shot from the free kick. Emiliano Martinez played convincingly. At the moment, 7 was written in the corresponding column for Argentina.
Paulo Dybala got the first minutes at the World Cup in the match. However, La Joya(nickname – “Jewel”) was allowed to play in Qatar just now, Scaloni named the factor of tactical incompatibility as the reason for his decision.
In the end, nothing changed in the match. Argentina will play the final and Croatia will do the same for the 3rd place. Albiceleste will face the winner of Morocco-France in the final.
Argentina fans celebrated the victory en masse in the country.
Post match comments
I feel a lot of things right now, it’s very emotional to see all this. To see all the people, all the family during the World Cup was something incredible. We are going for the final game, which is what we wanted.
I don’t know if it is my best World Cup or not. It’s been a long time for me to enjoy it like this. We were confident that this group could pull off this achievement. We know what we are and we ask the people to believe in us.
Argentina is, again, in a World Cup final – time to enjoy it!
We’ve been through tough moments, other really good ones. Today we’ve experienced something spectacular. I’m enjoying myself with all the people, and all the Argentinians that are in our country. I bet it’s crazy right now!Lionel Messi – Argentina
“It felt like there were more Argentinians here than in Argentina! Our fans are crazy.
We are giving everything. Whatever happens, this team is going to do everything.
When a team is united, the players can change but everyone pulls in the same direction. We are going to try acheive the dream”.Nicolás Tagliafico – Argentina
We are 26 warriors who are all prepared to fight for the people.
We are a strong group, that’s important. We were excited to get to the final. Now we have to try our best to achieve the objective.NIcolás Otamendi – Argentina
“Perhaps this is the end of the generation of the World Cups, a couple have reached an age and have to see what happens in 2026.
We have had a great team and this generation will finish off their career at Euro 2024. We have the National League and an excellent generation who reached two semi-finals.
I will continue, my contract is until 2024. We have the Nations League then the World Cup qualifications too. My plan and objective is to take Croatia to Euro 2024.
Nothing much needs to be said about Messi. The best player in the world and very good and very dangerous today. It is the true Messi we expected to see.”Zlatko Dalic – Head Coach of Croatia
Keystats from Opta
- Argentina have reached the World Cup final for the sixth time, doing so in two of the last three editions of the competition (also in 2014) – only Germany (8) have reached more finals in the competition than Argentina (6 – level with Italy and Brazil).
- Messi equaled Maradona as the top assister in World Cups since there is data in 1966. All of Lionel’s goal passes were to different players: Crespo (2006) Tevez (2010) Di María (2014) Agüero, Mercado (2018) Enzo Fernández, Molina and Julián Álvarez (2022).
- Lionel Messi is the first Argentinian player to score in three different knockout rounds of a World Cup. Before Qatar 2022 he had no goals in these phases.
- More than half of the goals scored by Julián Álvarez with the Argentina (7) shirt were for the World Cup (4).
- Julián Álvarez(22y 316d) is the youngest player to score twice in a World Cup semi-final or final since Pelé in 1958 (17y 249d).