Lionel Messi leads Argentina to World Cup final in dominant win over Croatia

Lionel Messi, in what’s likely the final World Cup appearance of his illustrious career, will be heading to the final match in Qatar after defeating Croatia, 3-0, on Tuesday night. 

It’s the first time since 2014 that Argentina made the World Cup Final, and for Messi, it’s his last chance to possess that trophy. It will be Argentina’s sixth World Cup final appearance, tied third-most with Italy, but they haven’t won it since 1986. 

There was no penalty shootout to move on. Instead, Argentina cruised to the final and Messi was a big part of it. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after he sets up Julián Álvarez to score to make it 3-0 during the World Cup semifinal match against Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates after he sets up Julián Álvarez to score to make it 3-0 during the World Cup semifinal match against Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In the 34th minute, Argentina were awarded a penalty shot after a foul from Croatia in their own 18-yard box. Of course, Messi was the one to take it. 

Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic guessed the right way, diving to his left. But Messi’s strike from the penalty mark was just too good. He buried it into the top right corner and put Argentina up 1-0 in the first half. 

BROTHER OF AMERICAN JOURNALIST GRANT WAHL SAYS ‘I NO LONGER SUSPECT FOUL PLAY’ IN DEATH AT WORLD CUP

But Argentina wasn’t done scoring. Julian Alvarez scored the first of two goals in the 39th minute following a Croatia cross and a quick breakout by the powder blue and white. Alvarez booked it down the pitch, fighting off Croatian defenders and kicking it past Livakovic to have a substantial lead heading into the locker room. 

As we’ve seen in this World Cup, though, Croatia never goes down without a fight. Argentina had to keep their form in the second half and two goals might not have been enough. 

Messi got to work again. 

Lionel Messi of Argentina battles for possession with Josko Gvardiol of Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.

Lionel Messi of Argentina battles for possession with Josko Gvardiol of Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

No, he didn’t find the back of the net but his fantastic effort to run down the right side, evading Croatian pressure and eventually finding Alvarez right in front of the net for an easy tap in goal was a thing of beauty in the 69th minute. 

AMERICAN SOCCER JOURNALIST GRANT WAHL DIES WHILE COVERING FIFA WORLD CUP IN QATAR

That third goal all but sealed the victory for Argentina. Croatia took 12 shots at net, but only two were on target for Emiliano Martinez to save.

As Lusail Stadium in Qatar sang after Argentina’s victory, all eyes will be on Messi as he awaits his next opponent with his squad. 

Lionel Messi celebrates after Argentina's third goal against Croatia on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.

Lionel Messi celebrates after Argentina’s third goal against Croatia on Dec. 13, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Lars Baron/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Argentina will face the winner of France, the 2018 World Cup champions, and Morocco on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. France and Morocco will battle Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

Check Also

NFL star Brandon Aiyuk appears to unfollow 49ers’ social media amid contract dispute

Brandon Aiyuk is coming off arguably the best season of his NFL career, finishing the …