Croatia missed out after finishing runners-up at the last World Cup in Russia in what was Modric's last World Cup match

Argentina accede a la final del Mundial de Qatar y Messi se acerca a su gran sueño

photo_camera AFP/JUAN MABROMATA - Argentina's forward Lionel Messi celebrates after defeating Croatia 3-0 during the Qatar 2022 football World Cup semi-final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium, north of Doha on December 13, 2022

Argentina beat Croatia by a comprehensive 3-0 scoreline to book their place in the Qatar 2022 World Cup final. Lionel Messi, Argentina's star player, has another chance to finally win a World Cup title to match the great star and national idol Diego Armando Maradona.  

Everything is coming together at the Qatari event for Lionel Messi to finally achieve his great dream and definitively enter the Olympus of Argentine football after having triumphed in Europe with the great career he had at FC Barcelona, where he enjoyed so many titles and a level of play that made many wonder if he was the best player in history or if he could be compared to a figure of the almost divine stature of the great Maradona, an idol who led the victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico with a stellar performance during the tournament and who fell just short of another World Cup trophy after losing the final of the 1990 World Cup in Italy to Germany. 

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Messi also lost a final to Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, missing out on the final just at a time when he was at his footballing zenith. Now, with less physical explosiveness due to the passing of the years, but with the same technical brilliance, he once again has the option of winning the World Cup on Qatari soil, which would put him in the final stretch of his career, just at the least expected moment after the disappointments suffered with the Argentine national team in the past World Cups in which the current Paris Saint-Germain player took part (Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018). 

In the match played at the Lusail stadium, Argentina beat Croatia with a comfortable score, but the first two goals scored in the first half came from defensive errors by the Croatian team in the 34th and 39th minutes just after a first half hour in which the team led by Zlatko Dalic dominated the match thanks to the absolute control they had of the midfield with a good handling of the midfield by Luka Modric and with the vertical ball drives of Mateo Kovacic.  

The Argentine team led by Lionel Scaloni could not find a way to stop the Croatian momentum and win the battle in midfield, but it is also true that they did not suffer any clear chances against them. The Balkan side could not find a way to do any damage in the box and complicate goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez despite having a greater presence in the game. Then came the decisive moment when goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic innocently gave away a penalty to Julián Álvarez, after an important defensive frailty that allowed Messi to pass between the lines for the Argentine nine-goaler. It was a penalty that Messi converted brilliantly with a powerful, unstoppable overhead kick. 

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Shortly after came another concession from the Croatian defence that allowed a clear counter-attack by the Albiceleste that ended with the second goal scored by Julián Álvarez. 

That was the end of the game, and the rest of the match was a game of give and take for the Croatian team, who felt the blow of conceding two consecutive goals against a very tidy Argentina side who made no concessions whatsoever.  

The second half was left for one of the masterpieces of the World Cup by Messi. The Argentine ten faced centre-back Josko Gvardiol and took him to the box with the ball stitched to his foot, once there he broke him with a short dribble and won the back line to give the killer pass to Julián Álvarez, who again managed to pierce Livakovic's goal to leave the definitive 3-0 on the scoreboard that ended Croatia's journey; In a match that is understood to be Luka Modric's last at a World Cup finals, a bitter farewell for the Real Madrid player, already regarded as one of the best midfielders in history. 

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The Manchester City striker is the rising star in Argentina now, showing great ability in front of goal and a great deal of flair and verticality. Alongside him is Enzo Fernández, a midfielder of great dynamism and associative ability who emerged at River Plate and is now dazzling at Portuguese club Benfica. 

Argentina now await the winner of the other semi-final between Morocco and France in the final. The North African team is the great revelation of the tournament, is the best defensive team of the tournament and is showing great courage and competitive spirit that has led them to get rid of important rivals such as Belgium, Spain and Portugal. France, for their part, are the current champions and have what is considered to be the best player of the moment in Kylian Mbappé, as well as a squad with players of the stature of Olivier Giroud, Aurelien Tchouameni, Antoine Griezmann, etc... A final between Argentina and France is expected, but with the surprising Morocco, anything can happen. 

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