Lionel Messi was not messi-ng about tonight, as he inspired Argentina to a 3-0 victory over a disappointing Croatia side. It’s the biggest win ever in a World Cup semifinal for a team also keeping a clean sheet.
That outcome didn’t seem to be on the cards at all early on, as Croatia controlled proceedings with steady possession, their midfield and especially Mateo Kovačić putting on an absolute show. For a team that had barely given up any goals throughout the tournament but also barely scored any (outside the game against Canada), it was the perfect approach, gameplan, and executing.
Mateo Kovacic vs Argentina:— London Is Blue Podcast ⭐️⭐️ (@LondonBluePod) December 13, 2022
• Most Passes Completed (84)
• Most Duels Won (9)
• Most Passes Into The Final 3rd (13)
• Most Chances Created (3)
• 8 Recoveries
• 3/5 Dribbles Completed
• 2/3 Tackles Won
• 3 Fouls Won
An unfortunate end to a great tournament. pic.twitter.com/ki8ALN8bMD
But when you play for tight margins, disaster can strike from just one mistake (see also: Chelsea). Against the run of play just past the half-hour mark, a simple long ball forward resulted in goalkeeper Dominik Livaković conceding a penalty, which Messi hammered home unstoppably. Then, just a few minutes later, some panicked defending saw Croatia concede a second on a one-man counter from Julian Álvarez. Lionel Messi turned on god-mode in the second half to make sure of the victory, setting up Álvarez for his second and Argentina’s third. 3-0. Game, set, match.
Destiny now awaits Messi against either France or Morocco. But it seems written in the stars for him and Argentina.