Argentina faced Croatia in the first semifinal of the FIFA World Cup, which is currently taking place in Qatar.
Argentina defeated last year’s losing finalists Croatia 3-0 in this high-octane match at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Tuesday night (Wednesday IST) to secure a place in the decider for the second time in three editions.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring for the South American giants in the 34th minute of the game from the penalty spot. It was his third penalty shootout goal of the World Cup, and his fifth overall.
The other two goals were scored by Manchester City youngster Julian Alvarez, who now has four goals in four starts for the two-time former World Cup winners.
His first goal of the game was a masterpiece, as he scored on a brilliant solo run.
The second was set up by Messi, who scored and assisted in a game for the third time this World Cup.
Messi broke a number of records during Argentina’s first semifinal against Croatia, taking a giant step closer to realizing his dream of winning a FIFA World Cup with Argentina.
- No player has scored more goals (5) and provided more assists (3) than Lionel Messi in this year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup. The Argentina captain has been directly involved in eight goals in six matches.
- Messi has now become the leading goal scorer for Argentina in FIFA World Cup matches. By scoring his 11th goal in his 25th match, he has now broken former striker Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 10 goals.
- With his assist for Julian Alvarez’s second goal of the night, Messi has now provided eight assists for Argentina at World Cups. He has equaled Diego Maradona’s tally to become Argentina’s top assister at World Cups.
- Argentina’s match against Croatia on Tuesday night (Wednesday IST) was Messi’s 25th game in the FIFA World Cup. By starting in the XI, he has now equaled former Germany midfielder and 1990 World Cup winner Lothar Matthaus’ record of most appearances in the World Cup.
- Lionel Messi has now been involved in 19 goals at the FIFA World Cup. He has scored 11 times and provided eight assists. With his 19-goal involvement, he has now equaled the best goals plus assists tally for a player since 1966, which was previously set by Miroslav Klose, Ronaldo, and Gerd Müller.
- By scoring a goal and providing an assist against Croatia, he became the first player to score and assist in three different games in a single edition of a World Cup since 1966.
- He also became the oldest player to score five goals at a single World Cup.
- Messi is the first player to both score and assist in four separate World Cup matches (since the 1966 edition). His four games were against Serbia in 2006, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Croatia (all in 2022).