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World Cup 2022: Argentina in the final after their victory against Croatia



With a double from Julian Alvarez on Tuesday December 13, Argentina punished Croatia (3-0) in the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup and offered their captain Lionel Messi a new planetary final on Sunday, against France or against Morocco, opposites on Wednesday.

Eight years after having stumbled on the last rung of the 2014 World Cup (1-0 against Germany), the Albiceleste seems carried by a sacred mission in Qatar: to hoist its captain and number 10 on the roof of the world, at the same altitude as the icon Diego Maradona.

And after Australia in the round of 16 (2-1), after the Netherlands in the quarters (2-2 aet, 4 pens to 3), this time it was Croatia, vice-world champion 2018, who succumbed in the semi-finals in front of the Argentinian and the magic of his number 10.

“King Leo”

“This group is amazing, we did it, we did it, we’re going to play another final”, the sixth in the history of Argentina, savored Lionel Messi, who can offer a third star to his selection.

Best squire of “King Leo” Tuesday evening, the untenable Julian Alvarez first caused a penalty, converted by Messi (34th) who at the same time joined Kylian Mbappé at the top of the scorers’ rankings with a 5th achievement. The young Manchester City striker then doubled the lead after a disheveled counter-attack, with all the success of his 22-year-old (39th).

But Messi remains Messi: on the third goal, it was the PSG star who drove the Croatian defense crazy before serving back Alvarez (69th), author of his fourth goal in this World Cup.

Thousands of Argentine supporters massed in the stands

In a Lusail stadium acquired from the sky and white camp, these goals freed the thousands of Argentine supporters massed in the stands, religiously devoted to the cause of “their” Messi (35) despite the initial difficulties of the Albiceleste in Qatar (including a 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia).

They hope to be just as numerous on Sunday for the final, scheduled in the same stadium (4 p.m.), while Croatia will have to settle for the match for third place on Saturday (4 p.m.), against the loser of the other semi-final , France-Morocco, scheduled for Wednesday (8 p.m.).

A “deserved loss”

“It’s a deserved loss. acknowledged Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic on Tuesday. We lost, but I can’t fault the boys. They gave their maximum during this tournament. »

This outcome is heartbreaking for the master to play Luka Modric (37), who undoubtedly dreamed of the most beautiful scene to end his career in the World Cup… even if a possible third world podium after 1998 (3rd) and 2018 (2nd) would reward the immense footballing talent of this small country of less than 4 million inhabitants.

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World Cup 2022: behind Lionel Messi and Lionel Scaloni, the close-knit collective of Albiceleste



Of course, there is Messi. The greatest player in the world in search of the only title missing from his legend, who dreams of offering his country this trophy that has been awaited for thirty-six years. Messi, who wants to make a little more room in the hearts of Argentines, alongside Diego Maradona, forever unsurpassable.

The 35-year-old genius wears the Albiceleste, of course. But he is not the only strength of this sky and blue selection which, like the France team, prides itself on a “state of mind” to win the moon. Thanks to the other Lionel, coach Lionel Scaloni, the cold-blooded animal who directs his fiery gladiators.

Finally a real team

The “Gringo”, as it is nicknamed on the side of Buenos Aires, arrived at the controls in 2018 to replace a Jorge Sampaoli sacked after the Russian berezina (elimination in the round of 16 by France, 4-3). He had to ensure an interim and resist the ambient skepticism, fueled then by a certain Maradona, who did not see him “not even able to direct traffic”.

Except that Lionel Scaloni managed to put the Argentine car back on the right track: that of the collective. By dispassionating the debates as much as possible, by no longer conceiving the Albiceleste as a band of gifted people who can snort as they want, the 44-year-old strategist without much experience has managed to form a group of players not only fierce – a classic Argentinian – but finally solidarity. It is no coincidence that a first title for twenty-eight years came to reward the troop, the Copa America won in July 2021 against Brazil (1-0), at the Maracana stadium.

Promising young talents

It is also no coincidence that the inaugural defeat at this World Cup against Saudi Arabia (1-2), ending a series of 36 games without defeat for the Albiceleste, was only an accident, further tightening the group. Who, like the Blues, advanced in the competition on the wire, askew, in character. With a decisive Messi (five goals, three assists). Argentina 2022 looks like Argentina world champion in 1986? Not quite. Diego Maradona at the time was in charge of everything and the rest, with his feet as with his hand (that “of God” in the quarter-finals against England, 2-1). In Qatar, Argentina have some other talents.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, decisive on a final parade in added time against Australia in the round of 16 (2-1), and above all impressive with two saves during the penalty shootout in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands Low (2-2 then 4-3). Center-forward Julian Alvarez, 22, on the bench at the start of the tournament, holder from the third pool match and sparkling against the Croats, planting two goals in the semi-finals (3-0). Midfielder Enzo Fernandez, 21, a revelation of the tournament and a key player in ensuring midfield transitions. Cristian Romero, 24, who is increasingly establishing himself as one of the most talented defenders of his generation.

“We are lions and on Sunday we will give our lives on the pitch. The 47 million Argentines will be able to continue to identify with these players,” assured the defender after the demonstration in the semi-finals. The plural is indeed important.

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World Cup 2022: Messi and Argentina extinguish blue dreams



He is world champion, finally. Lionel Messi crowned, Lionel Messi with a big smile mingled with tears, of course, who holds this title which was still missing from his giant list. A first star for him, a third for Argentina, which the Blues will therefore have to wait to sew on their jersey, beaten after a crazy meeting, Sunday, December 18, which certainly embellishes the legend of the competition.

From the start, coach Lionel Scaloni’s men marked their territory and took charge of the game on their own, quickly finding the weak point of the day, a French right lane full of drafts. Surprise guest of this final, the former PSG striker Angel Di Maria, long left on the bench in this tournament, walks there, until finding the opening and causing a penalty on a naive fault by Ousmane Dembélé . Lionel Messi obviously transforms him (22e). And the party continues, until a second goal, after a counter-attack at the origin of which we always find the Argentine captain, and at the conclusion, again, Angel Di Maria (36e).

An unlikely reversal

A one-sided half, probably the worst of Didier Deschamps’ holders in this tournament, to the point that the French coach sent to the front even before the break (41e) two of his replacements, Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani, in place of Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembélé. 2-0 at the break, and not much to eat on the blue side.

The rest starts on the same bases, the Blues without juice and the Argentines in control. But these French people are so made that they reveal themselves in suffering, by going to draw from who knows where reasons to believe in it. And while nothing announces it, à la 80e minute, Randal Kolo Muani is slightly jostled on an overflow, the same fault as that causing the first penalty of the match. It is this time Kylian Mbappé, deprived of the ball until then, who is in charge of the execution. 2-1 and like a click. The Argentinians are still in shock when a new movement ends with a one-two between Marcus Thuram and Kylian Mbappé who, with a volley, wins the equalizer (81e, 2-2). Improbable return, incredible rebound. A final without, and suddenly everything changes, against the course of the game, but it is the Blues.

Mbappé and Messi, blow for blow

The extension is torn off. The gladiators are blowing. The Argentines push and Dayot Upamecano saves the homeland. Not for a long time. It is still the essential Lionel Messi who concludes a formidable Argentinian movement (109e). 3-2, the final hammer blow? What not. The two stars go blow for blow. On a strike from Kylian Mbappé, the ball is touched with the hand by an Albiceleste player. Another penalty, and the French number 10 shook the net (119th), achieving a historic hat-trick in the final from the Englishman Geoff Hurst during the final duel of 1966.

Total spectacle, which unfortunately must end with a terrible penalty shootout. Kingsley Coman and Aurélien Tchouaméni fail, and the Argentinians win the bet, which they deserve. Didier Deschamps can no doubt complain that “a final is won”, and that these Blues return empty-handed. He will have to digest this result before deciding whether to commit again behind them to try to conquer the Euro in 2024, the only title missing from his coaching record. In fact, the adventure of these Blues does not stop in Qatar, with a group composed half of players aged 25 and under. Long live the sequel.

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Mbappé top scorer ahead of Messi

With eight goals, including a hat-trick in the final, Frenchman Kylian Mbappé finished top scorer in the competition ahead of Argentinian Lionel Messi (seven goals).

During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, 172 goals were scored. That’s an average of 2.70 goals per game. In the previous edition, in Russia, 169 goals were scored, or 2.64 per game.

221 yellow cards were distributed, as well as 4 red cards. There too, almost similar figures compared to the Russian World Cup (219 yellow cards for 4 red cards).

Cumulative attendance at this World Cup is 2.45 million spectators. With an attendance rate of 96%, this edition does better than the 2018 edition, which attracted 2.17 million supporters to Russian venues.

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World Cup 2022: Lionel Messi enters a little more into the legend



Lionel Messi has just completed almost twenty years of playing at the highest level. Crowned world champion on Sunday December 18, in Qatar, he is definitely hoisted to the top of the pantheon of football where, except for the Brazilian Pelé or his compatriot Diego Maradona, few are those who can challenge him for the status of best player in history.

An exceptional track record

Each era has its football. Difficult to draw comparisons with Pelé, the only footballer to have won three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970), but who has never played in a European club. World champion in 1986 and finalist four years later, Maradona has never won the ancestor of the Champions League, the European Cup of Champions Clubs.

Messi, he quickly accumulated a huge club record, with FC Barcelona then PSG, notably winning four Champions Leagues. In the national team, the titles are long overdue. First thinning, an Olympic title in 2008. Then many lost finals, in 2014 at the Brazilian World Cup, and in Copa America in 2007, 2015, 2016. In 2021, he finally won this continental championship, before finally registering the Cup of world on his list.

Rain of tributes

“Messi won his first World Cup, as his trajectory deserved”also dubbed Pelé, on Sunday on his Instagram account, with a nod to Maradona, who died in 2020. “Congratulations to Argentina! Diego is certainly smiling. »

One of the best tributes to the player from Rosario is undoubtedly to be found on the side of former England international Gary Lineker. On his Twitter account, the latter put the right words on what Messi represents: “It was an absolute privilege to watch Lionel Messi play for two decades.explains the latter. Joyful, bewitching, breathtaking football. It’s a gift from the football gods. I am delighted that he lifted the ultimate trophy in our sport. »

The person concerned, he has been enjoying his pleasure since Sunday. “After struggling so much in my career, it’s almost coming to an end”he confided, smiling, a few minutes after the final whistle. “Obviously I wanted to end my career with this (…). But I love football, I love what I do, I love being in the national team, being with this group. And obviously, I want to continue to live a few more matches as world champion. »

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World Cup 2022: Argentinians celebrate and forget the crisis for a moment



Madness, nerves on edge, ecstasy, relief, 46 million Argentines crying with one voice: champions! Champions in suffering, it’s true. Until the last second of extra time, until the last penalty. Never seen. Argentina won (3-3, 4-2 tab) against France in the final of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Sunday, December 18.

“I thought my heart was not going to resist, we deserved to beat France in the 90 minutes, they’re a great team but we were better until Mbappé’s two goals in one minute” assures Esteban Martinez, 44 years old. He came from the distant southern suburbs of Buenos Aires with his family to celebrate at the Obelisk in the center of the capital. A caravan of cars with their concert of horns and tens of thousands of people on foot who jostle on the main avenue 9 de Julio, the most intrepid perched on bus stops or clinging to a pole waving an Argentine flag, have converged.

“I had to wait 36 ​​years”

Lionel Messi and company managed to restore the coat of arms of the Albiceleste by winning this coveted third star, after those of 1978 in Argentina and 1986 in Mexico. “I had to wait 36 ​​years! You realize ? 36 years since I saw the immense Diego Maradona lift the cup at the Aztec stadium in Mexico City. And to think that he left us not so long ago. I think about it and I have tears in my eyes.” said Alberto Vargas, in his sixties.

He hugs his little girl tightly in his arms, who wears the Argentine jersey in the name of Messi and who watches with wide eyes the crowd singing and jumping on this late spring afternoon in the southern hemisphere.

Argentinians are not lacking in rites and superstitions when it comes to football. And they were all on the agenda this final Sunday. Alicia Bárcenas, 32, is a firm believer that she contributed to Argentina’s triumph: “I always walk around the table three times before the games and wear the green scarf during the demonstrations for abortion”she assures.

A story that has been circulating in recent hours is that of Daniel Valencia, Argentine world champion in 1978, who refused an official invitation to travel to the Lusail stadium in Qatar for the final. He had his reasons: “As a family we always see the matches sitting in the same place on the same sofa. In addition, that day, I put my underpants inside out! No question of changing. »

“A great people and a great future”

South American rivalry obliges, the crowd continues to sing against neighboring Brazil. A replica of the World Cup in hand, Luis Alberto Vazquez, 51, remembers Neymar, and says not without irony: “He had anticipated that Jair Bolsonaro would beat Lula in the recent presidential elections and that Brazil would be world champions. Neither. He is better with a ball at his feet than making predictions. »

Just as Messi lifted the cup, President Alberto Fernández demonstrated on his twitter account that the national team is “an example that we must not abandon. We have a great people and a great future”. Without doubt, the Argentinians and the Argentines really needed a collective joy to turn the page of a difficult year.

Football has managed to unite a very divided society. Inflation of nearly 90% in the year? There will be plenty of time to worry about that later. This Sunday, December 18, we forget everything and paint the cities and countryside with the sky blue and white colors of the Argentine flag, we idolize Lionel Messi and we prepare a monumental reception for the team when he returns to Buenos Aires on Monday at the end of the season. ‘afternoon.

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2022 World Cup: Argentina-France, a three-star duel


The Blues are struggling to digest. By qualifying for the final of the World Cup in Qatar, to the detriment of Morocco (victory 2 goals to 0), the French team will face Argentina, Sunday, December 18, on the lawn of the Lusail stadium, to try to win his second World Cup in a row. “It’s incredible to play two World Cup finals in a row, we did a great job,” rejoiced Théo Hernandez, in the minutes which followed the qualification.

Also a scorer in the semi-finals, Randal Kolo Muani could only agree: ” I do not realize. It’s a sick thing, we’re dreaming. I hope we will win the cup. » Aware that there is still a step to take, the attacker pulls himself together: “The final is not played, it is won. » “To win a World Cup, you have to eat big, and you are hungry”, promises midfielder Youssouf Fofana for his part.

The circle of adults

Euphoric but concentrated, the Blues. Griezmann and his band will have to remain serious to repeat the feat of 2018, being aware that, beyond a title, a page in the history of football can be written. The final opposes two teams twice world champions. Two selections who dream of adding a third star to their jersey, thus catching up with the very closed circle of world multichampions which are Brazil (5 wins), Germany and Italy (4 wins).

If fate smiles on France, Didier Deschamps, the greatest winner in French football, can boast of having contributed to the success of the three tricolor stars. One as a player and captain in 1998, two others as a coach. If fate decides to crown the Albiceleste, his Argentinian counterpart, Lionel Scaloni, will remind critics of yesteryear, who doubted his legitimacy, that his interim role was probably worth more than that..

New Maradona against new Pelé

On Sunday there will also be a match within the match, through the distance duel between two of the greatest players of the current period. At the Blue and White, Lionel Messi, one of the best players in history, dreams from the height of his 35 years of winning the only major title he lacks. Exploding all records during his career, including that of the number of Ballon d’Or won (7), the brilliant Argentinian playing master knows that he will only be definitively entered into legend by equaling an illustrious predecessor. The shadow of the late Diego Maradona, main craftsman of the last Argentine title at the 86 World Cup in Mexico, and demi-god in his country, still hangs over his head.

It is another legend that overlooks the other superstar of the match, the French Kylian Mbappé. Bondy’s crack is regularly presented as the worthy successor of a giant: Pelé. Obtaining a new world title on Sunday, four years after the World Cup in Russia, would put him on the right track to equal the extraordinary record achieved by the Brazilian: he is the only footballer to have won three titles (1958, 1962 and 1970). At 23 and with many years of football ahead of him, Kylian Mbappé would give himself the right to equal or even beat this incredible record.

An in-game top scorer trophy

Between the two men, it is also a matter of succession. The Paris Saint-Germain teammates face off in what looks like a handover. One is at the end of his career when the other is only in the first chapters, even if the story is already sensational. Still, it’s hard to predict which one will be better on the pitch on Sunday. In an interview with AFP, the former Argentinian international Jorge Burruchaga, decisive in the final of the 86 World Cup, is not mistaken: “Messi is 35 but gives the impression of being a 20-year-old. »

Their respective performances will be particularly scrutinized. The two men used to freaking out the statistics are in competition to become the competition’s top scorer. They are currently tied, five goals each. An individual trophy that these two insatiable winners will want to add to the glory of a new coronation, to continue to perfect their legend.

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Remembering 2018

France and Argentina have met 12 times since 1930, including three times in the World Cup (1930, 1978 and 2018). Argentina leads by far in the record of confrontations, with six successes against three victories for France, and three draws.

The last meeting between the two teams dates back to June 30, 2018 in Kazan, in the round of 16 of the Russian World Cup. The Blues, on their way to their second world title, had won 4 goals to 3 in a match of anthology.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi announced that Sunday’s final would be his last World Cup game. At 35, he will be the only record holder for the number of games played in this competition (26 games).

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World Cup 2022: Pope Francis, a supporter of choice for Argentina



During the World Youth Days (WYD) organized in Krakow, Poland in 2016, a young person questioned Pope Francis. Who is, according to him, the best football player of all time: the Argentinian Diego Maradona or the Brazilian Pelé? Faced with this difficult choice, François, whose passion for football is well known, responded with a pirouette: “For me, it’s Messi! »

There is no doubt that for the final of the World Cup in Qatar, opposing the French team to that of Argentina, his native country, on Sunday December 18, the pope, who continues to regularly read the specialized press on football, would see looking forward to the victory of Lionel Messi’s teammates. Pope Francis is, with the sevenfold Golden Ball, the most famous Argentinian in the world. The two men have also met at least once, in the Vatican, on the occasion of a friendly match between Italy and Argentina in Rome in 2013, in honor of the pope.

Messi, “a god with the ball on the pitch”

A great supporter of San Lorenzo, a football club in a popular suburb of Buenos Aires – whose results he follows through a Swiss guard, he explained in the Argentine press in 2015 – François has already mentioned the captain and Argentine number 10. Asked about Lionel Messi and his admirers who sometimes compare him to a God, in 2019 by the Spanish channel La Sexta, the pope had tempered. These are expressions of the people. He’s a god with the ball in the field, he explained. These are popular ways to express yourself. It’s nice to see how he plays. But it’s not God. »

The pope’s passion for football earned him many shirts from his visitors, including many teams that he regularly hosts at the Vatican. When he came in October 2021, Jean Castex, the Prime Minister at the time, offered a signed Paris SG jersey, bearing the name of Lionel Messi, one of the best players of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

If successful against the Blues, the Albiceleste – nickname of the Argentine selection – would win a third World Cup after 1978 and 1986. In a book published in French in December, A time to change (Flammarion), the Pope also alludes to that day in June 1986 when Argentina won a second star, in the final against West Germany.

Tribute to Diego Maradona

Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio was then living in Germany, where he was working on his theology thesis: “I didn’t want to see the game and I only knew we had won the next day when I read the newspaper. Nobody in my German class talked about it, but when a young Japanese girl wrote “Vive l’Argentina” on the board, the others laughed. The professor came in, said delete it and the subject was closed. » “It was the loneliness of a victory alone, because there was no one to share it (…) », he says again.

Having become pope, Francis twice met another “idol” in Argentina, the former footballer Diego Maradona. Only hours after his death, he had paid tribute to him in a message published by the Vatican: “The Pope looks back with affection on the occasions of meeting in recent years, and remembers him in prayer, as he did in recent days when he learned of his state of health. »

Difficult to know if the pope, who will be 86 the day before the final, will follow the match. Contrary to what the film shows The Two Popes, broadcast on Netflix, where in an unlikely scene, Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bergoglio watch the World Cup final between their two countries, Germany and Argentina, Pope Francis assures us that he never watches television. However, we can assume that he will keep abreast of the result when he gets up on Monday, December 19.

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2022 World Cup: view of Argentina, France “great rival” for the final



After their victory against Morocco (2-0), the Blues will find Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste in the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Sunday, December 18. The 2018 world champions have been noticed by the Argentine press, identified as strong opponents for the dispute to come.

The Nationthe most read daily newspaper in the country, title on the ” challenge “ who awaits Argentina: “Take back the crown from France, defending champion. » « The selection led by Didier Deschamps is not afraid of anything, neither the whistles of thousands of Moroccans throughout the match, nor the successive losses of players like N’Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez”. reports the daily.

Several heavyweights of the France team had indeed been declared forfeited a few weeks before the start of the competition. The newspaper further recalls that the two teams are vying for their third star, with Argentina having won the title in 1978 and 1986 and France in 1998 and 2018.

Another major daily in the country, the Clarinsalute “skill” of the France team, thanks to which the Blues once again managed to reach the final. Argentinian players, after a day off with the family, bring back the title in One, “will begin to prepare the team and the clash with the French giant”. France, “last hurdle” before the coronation in the columns of the regional newspaper The Gacetaand “great rival” for The VozWhere Los Andes.

Mbappé-Messi duel

Several press headlines highlight the duel that will be played on Sunday between Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi. For The Gacetaduring the confrontation “The World Cup will not only be at stake, but Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé will also compete to define which of the two will be the best player of the tournament”. Both forwards have scored five goals each since the start of the competition.

The regional daily Los Andes sees in the final the opportunity for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé to argue “the title of MVP and top scorer of the tournament”. The sports daily OleMbappé jersey in One, title on the battle between the two players “for the cup and the crown”.

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World Cup 2022: Messi and Modric, duel at the top of the Argentina-Croatia match



Number 10 duel in Doha. Argentina and Croatia are fighting on Tuesday, December 13 at 8 p.m. for a place in the final of the Football World Cup, at the Lusail stadium.

If Croats and Argentines showed a good collective game to climb to the last four of the competition, they are led by their two star players: Lionel Messi, 35 years old and Luka Modric, 37 years old. The two numbers 10, who play for Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid respectively, nevertheless have a very distinct position and style of play.

► One number, two styles of play

In this competition, Croatian point guard Luka Modric has a clean stat line: no goals and no assists. The Real Madrid player is confined to his role as a midfielder, as shown by the analysis of the position of his balls touched during the World Cup.

Associated with Marcelo Brozović and Mateo Kovačić, whom their coach Zlatko Dalić considers to be the ” better “ middle of the world trio, Luka Modric plays more the role of conductor, multiplying the back and forth between defense and attack.

For its last World Cup, the Pulga, nickname given to Lionel Messi, seems to be in full swing. Author of four goals and two assists since the start of the competition, he assumes a more attacking role. In a centre-forward position, Messi attempts more shots. And he tends to carry his team individually, as demonstrated by the frequency of passes he receives during games.

► Golden ball level, it’s unbalanced

In the match of individual distinctions, Lionel Messi largely beats his Croatian colleague. Seven times winner of the famous Ballon d’Or, which distinguishes the best football player over a year, Lionel Messi holds the record. For his part, Luka Modric has been rewarded only once, after the course of his national team, vice-world champion in 2018.

In their trophy cabinet, between them they count nine Champions Leagues (five for Modric and four for Messi), thirteen Spanish championships (three for the Croatian and ten for the Argentine) and… two World Cup finals (one each, not counting the one to come).

► During the last confrontation, Modric and the Croats in demonstration

The last and only competitive confrontation between Argentina and Croatia dates back to the last edition of the World Cup, in 2018 in Russia. Easy winner of theAlbiceleste (3-0), the Croats took advantage of a fine strike from Luka Modric to score the second goal of this group match. And the checkered team eventually reached the final before losing to France.

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World Cup 2022: Argentina beat the Netherlands on penalties and join Croatia in the semi-finals



Despite the genius of Lionel Messi, author of an assist and a goal from the penalty spot, Argentina came very close to disaster against the Netherlands, who snatched an unexpected equalizer before losing on penalties on goal (2-2 after extra time, 4-3 after penalties), Friday December 9 in Doha.

The Albiceleste therefore came out alive but a little shaken from the fateful session which had been fatal in Brazil a few hours earlier against Croatia, the next opponent of the band to Messi, Tuesday in the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup Argentina entered the pitch informed of the still hot elimination of their arch-nemesis, Brazil, and spurred on by the chants of their supporters.

Argentinian dominance

In great form and ultra-motivated for his 24th World Cup match in five final stages, Messi gave the public a brilliant first inspiration in the 35th minute for the opener: acceleration and blind pass to Nahuel Molina who managed to get ahead of Virgil van Dijk’s tackle and score with his toe (35th). 1-0, score at the break.

In the second half, Argentina almost made the score worse with a quick counter-attack in the 59th minute, but Mac Allister, who saw De Paul unmarked on his right, wasted this huge chance by adjusting his pass badly, and the Oranje were able to extricate themselves. Decidedly untenable, Lionel Messi continued to delight the public with his classy gestures, passes and accelerations, forcing Van Dijk to foul him at the entrance to the area (61st). But the free kick from the Pulga landed just above the net (63rd).

The undecided balance tipped sharply in the Argentinian side in the 71st minute when Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz awarded a penalty for a Dumfries foul on Acuna.

Messi’s tenth goal in a World Cup

The opportunity for Messi to score his tenth goal in the World Cup, the fourth at this World Cup (71st). His second successful penalty in Qatar after the one scored in the inaugural defeat against Saudi Arabia (2-1), and after the one missed against Poland (2-0), both times in the group match.

Difficult at this moment of the match to imagine for a moment the incredible reversal of the situation which would lead to the equalization of the Netherlands, with the two entrants at the start and the arrival of the two goals. Substitute Wout Weghorst, who entered in place of a fairly transparent Memphis Depay (78th), launched the first stone in the Argentine pond by deceiving Emiliano Martinez with an uncrossed header upon receiving a cross from Steven Berghuis (83rd ), also entered in the second half.

A snatch equalizer

From then on, a wind of panic began to blow in the Albiceleste camp, facing a transformed and dangerous Batavians, as on this heavy strike from Luuk de Jong, just next door (85th). And another entrant, Leandro Paredes, further increased the opposition’s enthusiasm by deliberately clearing the ball towards the Oranje sidelines, provoking the fury of its occupants and earning him a warning (89th).

And the incredible thing happened at the very end of added time, in the 90th minute plus… 11: a brilliant fake strike from a free kick by Teun Koopmeiners for Werghorst, the super-substitute who scored and equalized with a shot crossed from the left and capsized his camp of happiness. Extensions.

The extension did not allow the score to change despite several dangerous actions, especially on the Argentinian side, including a last shot from Enzo Fernandez on the post (120 + 1). And the penalty shoot-out turned to the advantage of the Argentines, whose excellent Emiliano Martinez diverted the first two shots from the Oranje.

Eliminated in the round of 16 by France in 2018, Argentina, world champion in 1978 and 1986, continues on its way to a third coronation, which would be the first for its superstar Lionel Messi.

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