One of the two World Cup semi-finals has been played! Argentina and Croatia battled for a spot in the final of the 2022 World Cup; the Argentines were victorious winning 3-0!
World Cup Semi-finals: Argentina on to the final; Croatia to play for 3rd place
A display of Brilliance from Argentina dismantled the often-organized Croatia side. The 3-0 win for Argentina sends them to the World Cup final, to be played on Sunday, but this isn’t the end for Croatia in this tournament.
While Argentina awaits the winner of France vs Morocco in the final, Croatia gets to play in a game for third place in the tournament against the loser of the second semi-final. It is seen oftentimes as a consolation, but it’s one where pride is still on the line.
Let’s take a look back to see how this semi-final led to Argentina’s triumph and the desolation of Croatia.
Argentina 3 – 0 Croatia
The semi-final between Argentina and Croatia was one that saw a side who seemed to be hitting their stride at the best possible moment, and another who had spent much of their energy defending for the past 240 minutes and relying on penalty shootout prowess. Argentina relied on the momentum of confidence they got from beating their World Cup rivals the Netherlands. Croatia spent the entirety of their knockout round lives staying organized while running rampant to make it to a penalty shootout.
This was the case for the first half-hour of this semi-final, but then things broke open in Argentina’s favor. A nice ball was snuck past Croatia’s backline and Julian Alvarez was in on goal; Croatia’s keeper, Dominik Livakovic, came out to try and win the ball but he struck Alvarez instead. It was a penalty to Argentina and Messi stepped up. With the suspense building, Messi blasted the pen past Livakovic to give them the 1-0 lead. Not five minutes later, Argentina found a second.
Croatia was totally dismantled after the first goal and never found their good defensive shape again. Argentina’s Julian Alvarez picked up the ball just inside his own half in the 39th minute and ran straight through the heart of the Croatian team en route to scoring the second goal. Taking a 2-0 halftime lead, Argentina was in the driver’s seat, but the next goal in the game would prove crucial for whoever would find it. It would come Argentina’s way thanks to more Messi brilliance.
In the 69th minute. Messi won the ball just over midfield near the sideline. He had a Croatian defender running with him step for step but found a way to wiggle around him. He carried the ball down the sideline into Croatia’s box where another defender tried to dispossess him. Messi put him in the spin cycle and moved to the six-yard box. He picked his head up and found Julian Alvarez wide open; Messi passed it to him and Alvarez slotted it home.
At 3-0, the match was all but won for Argentina, Croatia couldn’t get back into the game, and their quest to make their second-straight World Cup final was denied. Argentina advances to the final, while Croatia settle for the thrid place match.
Argentina awaits the winner of France vs Morocco
The second semifinal takes place today at 2 pm ET. The reigning champions France continue their quest to get back to the final against the first-ever African semi-finalist Morocco!
Who will Argentina face in the World Cup Final, and who will take on Morocco in the third-place game?
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Mandatory Credit: Fotoarena/Imago/Icon Sportswire