Messi Magic inspires Argentina to final


Argentina are through to another world cup final, after dispatching Croatia 3-0, reaching a second final in three world cups, having made it to the final of the 2014 edition in Brazil, and they have one man to thank for his leadership and inspiration – Lionel Messi.

Of course it was a team performance, but Messi’s contribution on the night cannot be discounted, as he turned on his genius, and the Croatians simply had no answer in their quest to try and stop him. For all the talk of Croatia being a compact side and defensively stout, they found it difficult to live with the Argentines when they got going. 

Early in the Match, there were fears that he had pulled his hamstring, but those fears were allayed as he went on to engineer his country to a win. First by blasting a penalty high into the top right corner after Julian Alvarez was brought down by Dominik Livakovic and then later in the match, producing a moment of sublime genius of which we have become accustomed to over the past 15 years. He picked up the ball, went on a mazy run turning Josko Gvardiol; who has been one of the stand-out defenders of this world cup inside out, before setting up Julian Alvarez for his second goal of the night.

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In doing these, it was also a record-breaking night for him as he became the oldest player to score 5 goals at a single world cup, most goals in a world cup for Argentina (11), surpassing Gabriel Batistuta and the great Diego Maradona. He has scored in each knockout match at this world cup, having not done so in his previous four world cups. Also scoring in three straight world cup matches, equaling the feat he achieved at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

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