Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez scored twice as Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to head to the FIFA World Cup 2022 final.
In a mouth-watering clash between the 2018 World Cup finalists and the COPA America winners, the South Americans had the last laugh as they booked a spot in this year’s finals.
A cagey opening saw the two sides strung to find possession and open the scoring until the 34th minute when an onrushing Dominik Livaković collided with Argentina’s Julian Alvarez resulting in an Argentine penalty.
Lionel Messi stepped up and fired the spot kick into the top-right corner to become his nation’s leading goalscorer in World Cup history.
The Argentinians would double the lead minutes later when a swift counterattack from a Croatia corner saw the Argentines burst forward, with Álvarez picking the ball up on the halfway line and running into the opposition box with a couple of lucky deflections falling his way.
Sharp as a blade despite being in a tight situation, he prodded the ball past Livaković to send his side into the break with a two-goal lead.
The battle was over in the 69th minute thanks to another moment of pure magic from countering master Messi, who dribbled in and around Joško Gvardiol before squaring the ball to Álvarez, who tapped in his second of the night from close range and confirmed Argentina’s place in the final.