A match that ended with both teams in tears—Croatia in heartbreak, Argentina in triumph.
In the semifinal between the two nations, neither one a stranger to the top stage of the World Cup, the Argentines become the first team in the competition to crack into the Finals with a 3-0 win.
Argentina took the advantage of the match early on. Following a penalty from Croatia’s keeper, Dominik Livakovic on Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi scored the team’s opening goal. This adds another to his World Cup record, making him Argentina’s all-time leading scorer in the tournament.
In addition, he also ties Kylian Mbappé for most goals scored in this World Cup, keeping his hopes for winning the Golden Boot right on the horizon.
Just a few minutes later, Julián Álvarez netted another shot for Argentina from inside the box, giving them a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Sealing the deal
Coming into the second half, Argentina continued pressuring the Croatians, creating opportunities to score and cushion their lead—which they did.
In the 68th minute, Alvarez again comes off a crucial, hard-earned assist from Messi himself, to put Argentina up 3-0. At 35 years old, Messi is still the most influential player for his side.
As Croatia still continued to find opportunities to score to close the gap, the Argentinian fans in the crowd were already singing as though they had already won. And by the final whistle, the deal was sealed.
It’s heartbreak for Croatia, a team who has, against all odds, continued to advance time and time again. It’s heartbreak for Luka Modrić, who has likely made his final attempt at the trophy.
Meanwhile, Argentina will be heading to the World Cup Finals.
With the win, Lionel Messi’s dream of finishing a perfect career on his last try now stares him in the eye.
But they have one more obstacle to overcome.
The Argentines await to find out who they will be battling for the big win. Will it be France, who hopes to defend their crown, or Morocco who is fighting to win their first ever?
Banner image UEFA Champions League from Twitter.