We spotted Croatia’s weakness to destroy them — Messi

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Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

By Habeeb Kuranga

Croatia was at the mercy of Argentina in what was a rather easy fixture for the Albiceleste on the pitch as against what was on paper when the lineups for both teams were released.

Argentina raced to a two goal lead before halftime courtesy of goals from Lionel Messi from the pitch and a solo goal from Manchester City youngster Julian Alvarez.

After the break, Alvarez piled more misery on the Croats as he benefited from Messi’s marauding of the Croatian defence.

In the end, Argentina scored three goals without any reply from Croatia, who was fantastic against Argentina’s fellow South Americans, Brazil, in the quarterfinals.

After the win, Messi, who won himself the man of the match award, said Argentina knew they could hurt Croatia on the counter-attack. He said: “This is a very wise squad. We know what to do in every second of the game. We knew the Croatians would have the ball possession, but we knew this could be our strength.

“Sometimes they are disordered when they lose the ball, and they leave many spaces.”

On what the win means to him, he added: “To see these people, the family thought the World Cup was something incredible.

“And we are where we wanted to be. We started off losing, but we asked the people to stay confident with us because we knew.

“This group is crazy, we did it. It makes me think of my family.

“It’s the best for me. We had tough times, but we got the chance to experience something spectacular tonight.”

The Albiceleste will be playing their sixth FIFA world cup final come Sunday. And they will be expecting either France or Morocco – who are billed to face each other later today- on Sunday in the second semifinal.

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