‘God of football’ Lionel Messi (35, Paris Saint-Germain) led his country Argentina to the final and approached the threshold of winning the long-awaited World Cup. He led the team to victory with multiple attack points, recording one goal and one assist.
Argentina, ranked 3rd in the FIFA rankings, defeated Croatia (12th), a strong player in Eastern Europe, 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar World Cup held at the Lusail Stadium in Aldayen, Qatar on the 14th at 4:00 am (Korean time) to make the final. rose to It is the first time Argentina has reached the final of the World Cup in eight years since the 2014 tournament in Brazil, when it finished as runner-up.
In the 32nd minute of the first half, when a fierce search battle continued, the atmosphere between the two teams was sharply divided by a sudden penalty kick. Argentine striker Julian Alvarez (22, Manchester City) controlled a pass from the rear and collided with Croatian goalkeeper Dominic Rivakovic (27, Dina Mozagreb), resulting in a penalty kick decision.
Two minutes later, Messi, who started as a kicker, pierced the right corner of the Croatian goal with a powerful left-footed shot. Rivakovic, who drew attention for his penetrating ability to defend from penalties in this tournament, was helpless in front of Messi’s kick, which was perfect in both direction and speed.
Messi reported the 5th goal of this tournament and became a joint leader in scoring with France’s leading striker Kylian Mbappe (24, Paris Saint-Germain). In the final stage of the World Cup, he scored his 11th goal in his personal career, surpassing national legend Gabriel Batistuta (10 goals) and becoming the record holder for the most goals in Argentina. If Messi adds one goal, he stands shoulder to shoulder with Pele (Brazil, 12 goals), the “soccer emperor,” who ranks 5th in the World Cup’s all-time scoring list. The all-time top scorer is Miroslav Klose (Germany, 16 goals).
He also set a record for the most appearances. He participated in his 25th individual match in the World Cup finals, sharing the top spot with the most appearances with German ironman Lothar Matheus. If you compete in the finals, you will be the protagonist of a new record.
Argentina, which gained momentum, scored an additional goal in the 39th minute of the first half, widening the score by two goals. Alvarez, who received the ball near the half-line in Argentina’s fast-breaking situation, started a dribble breakthrough, overcame three Croatian defenders, and finished with a right-footed shot in a situation facing goalkeeper Rivakovic.
In the 24th minute of the second half, Argentina scored a goal through the combination play of Messi and Alvarez to seal the victory. Messi, who 스포츠토토 caught the ball from the right side of the opponent’s dangerous area, perfectly beat defender Yoshko Gbardiol (20, Leipzig) and passed it, and Alvarez, who was in front, finished with his right foot. Argentine fans, who were sure of victory, filled the stadium with cheers.
Messi has one last chance to catch up in the footsteps of national football legend Diego Maradona, who led the team to the 1986 World Cup victory. Eight years ago, at the World Cup in Brazil, he fought hard to lead Argentina to the final, but at the time, he gave the championship to Germany and stayed in second place. Winning the World Cup is the last goal of his football life for Messi, who is showing off his ‘last dance’ on the final World Cup stage of his life.
Croatia took out an irregular card in response to strong Argentina. Unlike previous games that prioritized defensive stability, they boldly raised the defense line from the beginning of the first half and went aggressive.
Argentina, embarrassed by the unexpected offensive, was shaken enough to record the first shot in the 24th minute of the first half, but as a result, the tactical change was Croatia’s defeat. It was poisonous to expand the space behind the defense while focusing on the attack. Argentina’s space penetration revived and they conceded three runs in succession. As the solid defense line, which had sustained three runs in the previous five games, collapsed, the offensive flow also became dull.
Argentina, who has won the ticket to the final by defeating Croatia, will have a ‘last match’ for the championship cup with another winner of the semi-final between France and Morocco, which will be held at Albaite Stadium in Alcor, Qatar, at 0:00 on the 15th.