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Messi leads his country to the World Cup final

Posted December. 15, 2022 08:00,   

Updated December. 15, 2022 08:00


“Qatar 2022 on the brink of becoming Messi’s World Cup.” The BBC reported so after Wednesday's semi-final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Lionel Messi, the god of football, is just one match away from his first World Cup trophy.

Argentina swept aside Croatia in its 3-0 semi-final win and will reach the World Cup final in eight years since the 2014 Brazil World Cup. The final match will be held on Monday midnight (Korea time). Argentina has won two World Cup titles but has never won a trophy for the past 36 years since the 1986 Mexico World Cup. Messi has appeared five times in the World Cup but never won the title. Earlier, Messi declared that this would be his last World Cup, so this would be the last chance he might win.

Messi’s penalty kick in the 34th minute gave Argentina a 1-0 lead over Croatia. Messi struck the ball toward the top right corner of the goalpost. Croatia's goalkeeper attempted to stop the penalty kick but could not stop Messi.

Messi’s brilliant foot skills unlocked Croatia’s defense several times. In the 24th minute in the second half, when Argentine had a 2-0 lead over Croatia, Messi showed one of the jaw-dropping moments of this year’s World Cup. He picked up the ball just over the halfway line and surged in front of Josko Gvardiol, a Croatian defender. Gvardiol has shown outstanding performances at the World Cup and is expected to get calls from several of Europe’s biggest clubs. Messi then brushed past Gvardiol along the byline as if he was to school the young Croatian defender and passed the ball for Alvarez to finish. It was the moment when Argentina finally got even with Croatia after it had suffered a 0-3 loss against Croatia in the semi-final in Russia in 2018.

“[Messi] is the best player in the world, he was dangerous, and he has quality,” said Zlatko Dalic, the manager of the Croatia national tea. The BBC (8.46) and WhoScored.com (8.6) gave Messi the best player rating after the match.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com