Lionel Messi is again at a stage that has ruined his famous career.
He is one step away from his only escape. His country is just a step away from where he looks forward to returning. One step away from its rightful place in Argentine tradition.
He helped Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 to reach the World Cup final. They will face the winner of the semi-final clash between France and Morocco on Wednesday.
In his fifth and final World Cup, Messi fired a penalty into the top right corner in the 34th minute to give La Albiceleste a 1-0 lead. He provided the final points of the game in the second half, stripping Croatia defender Josko Guardiol before setting up Julian Alvarez with a superb pass to give Argentina a 3-0 lead.
Before Messi’s penalty, Alvarez overcame the Croatian defense and was fouled in the penalty area. Alvarez was one-on-one with Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and was cleared after he attempted to flick the ball over him. Messi later buried the penalty and Livaković had no chance to convert it.
A few minutes later, Alvarez continued the attack of the Argentines and took the ball from his own half to the Croatian area. After a short turn, Alvarez collected the ball and calmly slotted past Livakovic to put Argentina 2-0 up in the 39th minute.
Argentina dominated the second half and continued to beat Croatia deep in their own half, leaving their opponents in the doldrums. Perhaps they learned a lesson from the quarter-final against the Netherlands, when they went 2-0 up in the second half and won on penalties.
So far in Messi’s Argentine career, the final has been a precipice for heart attacks. He fell short in the final at the 2014 World Cup, falling to Germany in extra time.
In 2017, after Argentina lost to Chile in the Copa América final that year, Messi announced his retirement from the national team, saying, “I did my best, the team is finished for me, the decision has been made.” did It was Messi’s third consecutive defeat at a major international tournament and fourth overall with Argentina, and he agonizingly missed a penalty as the game went on. Messi is back for the 2018 World Cup.
When he returns for another final, Messi will make his World Cup record 26th appearance of his career. In his illustrious career, he never played bigger.