Argentina thrash Croatia to secure final spot

Argentina have thrashed Croatia 3-nil in a semifinal clash at the Lusail Stadium, north of Doha.

The resounding win over Croatia secured Argentina a spot in the World Cup final for the second time in eight years, after they fell short against Germany at Brazil 2014.

Croatia made an impressive start to the game, defending well and attacking with energy and poise.

However, towards the end of the first half Argentina opened the scoring in the 34th minute through a penalty from Lionel Messi.

The referee awarded the penalty when Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic collided withJulian Alvarez who was played into the box with a perfectly placed ball from Rodrigo De Paul.

Messi emphatically struck the penalty high into the top right corner to take his 2022 World Cup goal tally to five goals and also break Gabriel Batistuta's record as Argentina's record World Cup goal scorer.

Just minutes later, Julian Alvarez doubled Argentina's advantage with a wonderful solo goal from within his own half.

Picking the ball up before the half-way line, the young striker dribbled and stumbled through several challenges and somehow managed to keep the ball all the way up to the six yard box. At the vital moment the ball bounced up and the Manchester City striker knocked it past Livakovic to make it two.


Croatia came out in the second half looking to turn things around, dominating possession in the opening stages but failing to find a finishing touch.

Croatia's hopes of securing a second consecutive final spot were dashed shortly after as Argentina put them to the sword.

Alvarez made it a double in the 69th minute after Lionel Messi terrorised the Croatian defense, jinking his way down the sideline before turning Josko Gvardiol and dancing down the byline.

Eventually, Messi squared it infield for Julian Alvarez who hit the back of the net with a simple finish.

Croatia had several half chances to get back into the game, with centre back Dejan Lovren failing to make a connection in two opportunities to head home from close range.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic appeared to accept the result with ten minutes to go, choosing to substitute captain Luka Modric to give the fans a chance to applaud one of their country's greatest ever players in his final World Cup match.

As the match came to a close, Argentina's fans chanted louder than ever while the players and coaches could barely contain their excitement as their journey to the World Cup title was sure to continue.

The win secured Argentina's spot in the FIFA World Cup final for the sixth time, giving Lionel Messi the chance to complete a fairytale story and win his first World Cup title in his fifth attempt.

Argentina will face the winner of tomorrow's semifinal between Morocco and defending champions France.