Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 after a dazzling display from Lionel Messi to reach their sixth final and will be hoping to win the most prestigious trophy in Football for the third time.
Lionel Messi will be hoping to cement his status as the best player to ever grace the game by winning the one trophy which has always alluded him. Argentina will hope to win the trophy for the first time since 1986.
How did Argentina get to the final?
Argentina came into this tournament as one of the favourites to take the trophy home. However, it was an unspectacular start for the Argentines losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in one of the most surprising results in World Cup history. Normality resumed as Argentina beat Mexico and Poland 2-0 which made Lionel Scaloni’s men make it through as Group C winners.
Round of 16
Argentina came up against Australia and by half time they were comfortably one goal up thanks to some Lionel Messi magic and Julian Alvarez scored 12 minutes into the second half to double Argentina’s lead. In the 77th minute, an Enzo Fernandez own goal meant the Socceroos were right back in the game with just over 10 minutes to go. Emiliano Martinez needed to make a last minute save from Garang Kuol in the 96th minute to prevent extra time and see Argentina progress to the quarter-finals.
It was the 2010 finalists the Netherlands which stood in 2014 finalist Argentina’s way to reach the semi-final. This game was arguably the game of the tournament. La Albiceleste took the lead in the 35th minute thanks to Nahuel Molina but credit goes to the magical Messi for picking out a world-class pass to set up the goal. As the game went on the encounter became more fiery and more yellow cards kept getting dished out. In the 73rd minute, Argentina were awarded a penalty which Messi converted confidently. In the 78th minute, it all changed when the ex-Burnley forward Wout Weghorst got subbed on. Five minutes in Weghorst scored to make it 2-1 and make it an extremely nervy end for Argentina. Especially with 10 minutes of added time getting put on the Netherlands threw everything at it. In the 10th minute of stoppage time the Netherlands got awarded a free kick. Teun Koopmeiners played it short to Weghorst which caught the Argentine defence napping and with the final kick of stoppage time Weghorst made it 2-2.
Extra time it was not much that happened as both teams didn’t want to lose it but plenty more cards got given out. It all came down to the lottery of penalties and Emiliano Martinez was Argentina saviour saving the first two Dutch penalties from Virgil Van Djik and Steven Berghuis helping Argentina to win 4-3 on penalties and reach the semi-final.
Argentina booked their ticket in the World Cup final after a convincing 3-0 win over Croatia thanks to a Messi masterclass. Croatia despite beating Brazil in the quarter-finals were no match for the Argentines. Argentina took the lead through Messi’s fifth goal of the tournament and third from the spot. Julian Alvarez scored a double to make his goal tally for the tournament four goals and send Argentina through to the final.