Lionel Messi scored the opener and set up Julian Alvarez’s other two as he guided Argentina to the World Cup final with a 3-0 triumph over 2018 runners-up Croatia.
Messi, 35, squeezed Argentina’s lead into the top right corner with a 34th-minute penalty for Qatar’s record fifth goal of the tournament. Five minutes later he set up Alvarez to score with a remarkable solo effort across the half, and Alvarez wrapped things up in the 69th after a dazzling solo from Messi.
Messi scored the Albiceleste’s 11th overall World Cup goal, which gave him a lead over Gabriel Batistuta. He’s also tied Germany’s Lothar Matthäus with a record 25 World Cup matches, a record he can secure sole possession of in Sunday’s final against title holders France or surprise side Morocco in the other semi-final Wednesday.
Argentina aim for a third title, the others coming in 1978 and 1986, in their sixth final, in which Messi finally wants to lift the trophy in his fifth and probably last attempt, after losing the 2014 final to Germany.
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