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World Cup Round-Up (Semi-Finals Day 1) – Argentina Beat Croatia to Reach Sixth WC Final

World Cup Round-Up (Semi-Finals Day 1) – Argentina Beat Croatia to Reach Sixth WC Final

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The first semi-final of the 2022 World Cup took place on Tuesday. In front of 88,000 fans at Lusail Stadium, Argentina booked their place in the showpiece with a dominant 3-0 victory over Croatia.

As expected, Lionel Messi was the star of the show – scoring and assisting in the win. But he wasn’t the only standout performer on the night, as Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez bagged a brace to cap off a memorable night in Qatar.

Croatia offered little resistance to Argentina’s threat, despite the best efforts of Luka Modric. Ultimately, it was always going to be difficult for the underdogs to reach back-to-back World Cup finals.

Let’s relive all the key moments from Tuesday’s semi-final.

Messi and Alverez Star as Argentina March On

Few would argue that Croatia didn’t start the game on the front foot. Zlatko Dalic’s side controlled the tie in the opening stages, but they failed to make the most of their early dominance.

Argentina needed a spark to ignite their performance – and it came on 34 minutes. Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic fouled Alveraz in the box, before Messi converted from the spot to give La Albiceleste the lead.

Five minutes later, Alvarez doubled Argentina’s advantage. After gaining possession in his own half, the Man City forward bulldozed his way past multiple Croatia players before lifting the ball over Livakovic and into the net.

Alverez came close to making it 3-0 when he connected with a Messi corner just before half-time. However, Livakovic produced a fine save to keep his team in the contest.

Dalic made a double substitution at the break, with Mislav Orsic and Nikola Vlasic replacing Borna Sosa and Mario Pasalic. Five minutes into the second half, Marcelo Brozovic was replaced by Bruno Petkovic. But the substitutes failed to change the course of the game

On 69 minutes, a moment of Messi magic created an unforgettable third goal. The PSG star weaved his way down the right wing before rolling Josko Gvardiol and cutting the ball back for Alveraz to put the icing on the cake.

The stadium – dominated by Argentine fans – didn’t stop rocking until the very end. After the game, Lionel Scaloni and his players danced and sang as their supporters celebrated in the stands.

So, Messi’s quest for the World Cup trophy continues. While Modric bowed out of the tournament on the other side, Messi and co. Will go for glory in Lusail on Sunday.

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