Not everything at this World Cup in Qatar obeys logic, but the Argentina national team, as many predicted, still made it to the final. In the semi-finals, the Croats resisted albiseleste as best they could, but could not do anything with it.
The Croatian national team is not the team that will play against the favorite with the first number, especially given the abundance of older players and exhausting confrontations in the first rounds of the playoffs. It was all the more surprising that in the first half of the first half, it was the “checkered” ones who had the ball and led the game. To a tangible advantage, however, did not reach. And too often the Croats broke the rules. The Argentines were not surprised by the opponent's activity - they calmly defended themselves and looked for their chances.
And this approach turned out to be correct. In the 25th minute, it was Albicelesta who struck the first dangerous blow in the match: after a long-range shot from Enzo Fernandez, Dominik Livakovic entered the game, parrying the blow. But in the 32nd minute, the Croatian goalkeeper brought a penalty kick, crashing into Julian Alvarez, who received a pass to move behind the backs of the defenders. Lionel Messi came up to the “point” – and calmly struck the top nine from the left.
The Croats tried to play at speed, but five minutes later they conceded again. Alvarez took possession of the ball after an unsuccessful standard at his gate and rushed forward, ignoring his pursuers, outplayed Borna Sosa and approached Livakovic, fired past him – 2:0.
Weakly believed that the Croats will be able to recoup. Moreover, the goals liberated the Prgentines. At the 58th minute, Messi threatened the Croatian goal, but Livakovic parried his shot with a rebound from the grass. "Checkered" created the first dangerous moment in the 62nd minute, and even that ended with a slight blow from Dejan Lovren.
And in the 69th minute, the score became big: Messi broke away from his rivals on the right edge, ran to the front line, removed Yoshko Guardiola and sent the ball to the goalkeeper's line, where Alvarez flawlessly hit the touch - 3:0. Opponents still exchanged attacks, but Alexis McAllister missed the target, and Lovren missed a meter on goal.
The confident victory of the Argentines showed that they are good not only when Messi determines the whole game. Well, the Croats were just weaker - however, a place in the top four and without a final is a worthy result. Opponents for the gold and bronze matches will be determined on December 14 after the semi-finals, in which the French and Moroccans will meet.
Argentina - Croatia - 3:0 (2:0).
December 13th. Lusail. Lusail Stadium.
Referee - Orsato (Italy).
Argentina: Martinez, Molina (Voyt 86), Otamendi, Romero, Tagliafico, de Paul (Palacios 74), McAllister (Correa 86), Paredes (Martinez 62), Fernandez, Messi, Alvarez (Dybala 74).
Croatia: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Guardiol, Sosa (Orsic 46), Modric (Mayer 81), Kovacic, Brozovic (Petkovic 50), Perisic, Pasalic (Vlasic 46), Kramaric (Livaya 72).
Goals: 1:0 Messi (34 pen.), 2:0 Alvarez (39), 3:0 Alvarez (69).
Booked: Livakovic (32), Kovacic (32), Romero (68), Otamendi (71).