Argentina are through to the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in Qatar after beating last edition’s finalists, Croatia at the Lusail Stadium.
Lionel Scaloni’s men defeated the Croatians 3-0, thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty and a Julián Álvarez brace.
Croatia, who were aiming to reach back-to-back finals after their 2018 heroics, were the better side during a cagey opening half-hour but Dominik Livakovic brought down Alvarez as the Manchester City striker lifted the ball over him.
Livakovic was his country’s hero in the shootout wins over Japan and Brazil but he was left with no chance as Messi thumped his penalty into the top right corner to join Kylian Mbappe at the top of the Golden Boot race.
Alvarez then tenaciously bundled his way through a scattered Croatia defence on the counter-attack to double the lead and the two goalscorers combined delightfully in the 69th minute – Messi tormenting Josko Gvardiol with a mesmerising dribble before teeing up Alvarez for his fourth of the tournament.
Argentina were last in the World Cup final eight years ago, at Brazil 2014. Having knocked the Netherlands out on penalties in the semi-finals, the South Americans came up against Germany at Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio Maracana – and were beaten to the trophy. Mario Götze’s extra-time goal earned Die Mannschaft a 1-0 victory.
They will face either France or Morocco on Sunday in the final fixture.
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