Messi & Alvarez fires Argentina to the World Cup final

Argentina beat Croatia at Lusail Stadium to advance to their sixth World Cup final, largely thanks to a brilliant performance from Lionel Messi.

Messi now has one more opportunity to win the title that has eluded him throughout his trophy-laden career.

22-year-old Julian Alvarez of Manchester City also sparkled as Argentina assured they would return here on Sunday to play either France or Morocco.

Messi initially appeared to be having hamstring trouble, but after 34 minutes, when Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic fouled the roving Alvarez, Messi did well to score from the spot.

Five minutes later, Alvarez doubled Argentina’s advantage by grabbing Messi’s header just inside Croatian territory, going on a slaloming run, and beating Livakovic with the help of fortunate bounces off of Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa.

After halftime, Messi mesmerized Croatia’s star defender Josko Gvardiol on the byline before laying the ball off to Alvarez for the game-winning goal.

Messi will now have the chance to atone for the heartbreaking disappointment of falling to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

Messi’s one last chance for World Cup glory

The dream for Argentina and their legendary number 10 appeared to end when Messi stretched and clutched the top of his left hamstring 19 minutes into this World Cup semi-final.

Instead, Messi bounced back after a period of moving slowly to motivate Argentina as they sought a third tournament victory after victories in 1978 and 1986.

As the World Cup nears its conclusion, they now have the opportunity to surpass themselves. And in his final competition, Messi may finally reclaim the title.

Argentina put on their most convincing performance of the World Cup in this match against the tenacious, resilient, and skilled Croatia, indicating Lionel Scaloni’s team is peaking just in time.

Unavoidably, Messi was at the center of it all and a part of every goal, but Alvarez showed in Qatar that, barring mishaps, he has a tremendous career ahead of him.

Messi: This will be my last World Cup

Lionel Messi believes Sunday’s final will be his last appearance for Argentina in a World Cup.

He stated: “To play the last game in a final and end my World Cup trip there makes me delighted. That makes me feel pretty good.”

“Seeing how much Argentina has enjoyed the World Cup has made everything I have experienced during it.”

“Between this & next World Cup, there are numerous years. I doubt I’ll be able to accomplish that. It is fantastic to end in this manner.”

“To win World Cup,” he declared, “is the group’s goal. We will exert all our efforts, just as we have in the past, to ensure we succeed this time.”

“Being on the national team for the past several years has been fun. Everything that is occurring to us is incredibly exciting to me.”

“It is just wonderful to win Copa America, get to the world cup with 36 straight victories, and culminate all that success in a final.”

“I hope Argentina’s people enjoy themselves and what we are accomplishing. They shouldn’t question our commitment to providing our all.”

Lionel Messi said he truly enjoyed playing for head coach Lionel Scaloni and complimented him for getting Argentina to the World Cup.

“He knows how to endure when he must suffer, reads the games, and knows when to back off and when to press.”

“He is an excellent coach who takes no chances “and shows you every aspect before it occurs. We weren’t concerned because we knew the game would proceed this way.”

Croatia manager hits out at questionable penalty decision

Zlatko Dalic, the manager of Croatia, has criticized the decision to award Argentina a penalty in their 3-0 defeat over La Albiceleste in Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final.

In his post-game press conference, Dalic stated that his team had been wronged twice before the opener.

“To be honest, the first goal seemed really suspect. First, there was the corner problem. According to our players’ reactions, [Croatia should have had] a corner. Then there was the penalty dilemma. It was a little too simple and inexpensive,” he said.

When asked if he would continue as manager, Dalic, who made Croatia a household name by guiding them to the 2018 World Cup final, replied in the affirmative.

“I’ll go on,” he assured. “After the European Champions, we have the Nations League and World Cup qualifications in six months, and my contract is till 2024. I want to lead Croatia to the 2024 Euros.”

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