Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 on penalty shots from star player Lionel Messi and two goals from Julian Alvarez to get to the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Two-time defending champions Argentina secured a return to the championship game after eight years when they defeated Germany in 2014.
Messi, eager to round off his incredible career with a World Cup title, scored a penalty kick in the first half that proved to be the game-winner, and then scored the game-winning goal with perfect precision in the second half.
In the 34th minute, Messi put his side up 1-0 with a superbly performed shot that soared high into the goal despite Dominik Livakovic’s diving save.
Five minutes later, as Argentina broke from a corner, Alvarez picked up the ball deep inside his own half and started a lengthy dribble towards the goal, doubling his team’s advantage.
Alvarez, taking advantage of a shaky Croatian defence, rode off challenges from Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa before sneaking the ball past Livakovic.
In the second half, Messi provided an outstanding assistance, teasing Josko Gvardial down the right before leaving the 20-year-old defender behind and dragging the pass back to Alvarez, who coolly tapped home to seal a dominant win.
Whether they face a determined Morocco or the current champions France on Sunday, Argentina will be confident in their chances of winning a third World Cup title.