Lionel Messi’s dream lives on and with it the dreams of millions of Argentina fans across the globe. The two-time champions are in their sixth final and are just one win away from winning the coveted trophy for the first time after 1986. Against the 2018 runners-up Croatia in the semi-final, Argentina produced their best display of the tournament to ensure they will meet the winners of Wednesday’s semi-final between holders France and Morocco in Sunday’s final.
Messi, 35, who suffered defeat to Germany in the 2014 final, is desperate to crown his extraordinary career by winning his first World Cup and a third for Argentina after wins in 1978 and 1986. And after getting his team on the way to victory with a perfectly struck first-half penalty he made sure of the win by brilliantly creating the third goal.
It was not until the 25th minute when the game showed signs of life with a low pot shot from outside the box by Enzo Fernandez but Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic did well to get across and keep it out.
It was a tight affair but then a simple lofted ball over the top from Fernandez caught out the Croatian defence, Alvarez latched on to it, knocking the ball past the advancing Livakovic who collided with the striker and Italian referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot.
Livakovic guessed correctly but his dive was in vain as Messi’s sweetly struck drive flew high into the net to put his side 1-0 up in the 34th minute.