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Messi, Julian Alvarez Show See Argentina Cruise Into World Cup Final

Argentina will play in their sixth men’s World Cup final on Sunday.

The two-time champions beat Croatia 3-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty and two goals from Julian Alvarez.

Messi’s strike, from a 34th-minute penalty kick, made him Argentina’s all-time leading scorer at World Cups with 11 goals.

Argentina are only the fourth team in World Cup history to reach six finals, after Germany (8), Brazil (7) and Italy (6).

The 1978 and 1986 winners have lost their last two World Cup finals – in 1990 and 2014.

Croatia had the lion’s share of possession in Lusail but Argentina looked much more dangerous with the ball.

Argentina’s opening goal came from the penalty spot after Alvarez had been fouled by Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic.

Livakovic had saved four spot-kicks in penalty shootouts to help Croatia beat Japan and Brazil in the last 16 and quarter-finals.

But he stood no chance of stopping Messi’s effort, which was emphatically dispatched into the top corner of his goal.

Argentina’s second goal arrived five minutes later and it was breathtaking.

Alvarez ran with the ball from inside his own half. He rode multiple challenges and benefited from a couple of lucky bounces before poking the ball past Livakovic.

Croatia never threated a comeback in the second half and Argentina sealed their victory in style in the 69th minute.

A brilliant Messi assist set up Alvarez for his second goal of the night.



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