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World Cup 2022: Lionel Messi, Argentina beat Croatia, surge to within one win of elusive title

Dec 13, 2022

LUSAIL, Qatar — Lionel Messi had been waltzing about, searching for a way into Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal here at the Lusail Stadium, when Croatian seas parted and the moment arrived.

He had been stationary, one hand gnawing at his hamstring, prompting fears of an injury. He had been silent, almost as invisible as planet Earth’s greatest soccer player could possibly be. But then, over a rousing hour at the latter end of a rousing World Cup, Argentina roared.

Messi, for once, didn’t create the breakthrough; but he punctuated after his teammates concocted it from nothing. And that, above all, was the story of Argentina’s surge into its sixth World Cup final. Messi converted a 34th-minute penalty that Juilan Alvarez had won. Alvarez scored a second via fortune and space that Nahuel Molina had opened up. Messi, who’d grown into his typically dazzling self, then bamboozled the best defender at the tournament, Josko Gvardiol, to seal an emphatic win.

The Argentines beat Croatia 3-0 in yet another cauldron of noise, and lifted Messi, their captain and catalyst and icon, to within 90 minutes of the trophy he has longed for.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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