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Lionel Messi's Trip to World Cup Final Celebrated by Twitter as Argentina Top Croatia

Nick AkermanFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2022

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 13: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates the team's 3-0 victory in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 semi final match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium on December 13, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Lionel Messi led Argentina to a 3-0 victory over Croatia on Tuesday, catapulting the South American champions into the World Cup final for the second time in three tournaments.

Messi began the scoring with a 34th-minute penalty after a cagey opening saw Croatia dominate possession. Goalkeeper Dominik Livaković—hero of the European side's penalty shootout wins over Japan and Brazil—was adjudged to have brought down the onrushing Julián Álvarez before Messi blasted in.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

TOO EASY FOR MESSI 🐐<br><br>HE PUTS ARGENTINA OUT IN FRONT IN THE SEMIFINALS 🇦🇷 <a href="https://t.co/bUSJIBlsYK">pic.twitter.com/bUSJIBlsYK</a>

Five minutes later, Álvarez dribbled the length of the pitch before nudging the ball beyond Livaković for 2-0. The Manchester City forward was a little fortunate to see the ball bounce back to him, but the gut-busting run got the reward it deserved.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

JULIAN ALVAREZ WHAT A GOAL 😱<br><br>2-0 ARGENTINA 🇦🇷 <a href="https://t.co/73747qp92r">pic.twitter.com/73747qp92r</a>

Croatia made attacking changes for the second half, but Messi and Álvarez ended any hope of a comeback with 20 minutes to go. Messi's unbelievable run sent Joško Gvardiol for a spin—the highly rated youngster unable to do anything as Leo laid on the assist for Álvarez to tap home.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

JULIAN ALVAREZ AGAIN<br><br>THREE for Argentina 🇦🇷🔥 <a href="https://t.co/Zdt4JW3EBi">pic.twitter.com/Zdt4JW3EBi</a>

Messi enters the second World Cup final of his career in what is likely his last attempt at winning the one major trophy that has eluded him. Mario Götze's injury-time winner ended Argentina's hopes in 2014, but with Messi in such rampant form, they have great momentum to get the job done.

Messi's outrageous display was vastly celebrated on Twitter as fans anticipated a showdown with either France or Morocco on Sunday.

Stefanos Tsitsipas @steftsitsipas

Messi is having the time of his life out there!

Jimmy Conrad @JimmyConrad

Leo Messi is now one win away from ending the debate about who is the greatest of all-time.

Jan Aage Fjørtoft 🏳️‍🌈 🇳🇴 💛💙 @JanAageFjortoft

Last time Messi lost the ball. 1995. He was 8

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Leo Messi, that well-known failure at international level, is on his way to his sixth final with Argentina.

Myles Dolphin @myles_dolphin

How could you *possibly* bet against Argentina and Messi in the final? It's inconceivable.

Reshmin Chowdhury @ReshminTV

Lionel Messi is the 1st player to score &amp; assist in 3 different games, in a single edition of a World Cup, since 1966. Unreal. <br>Expected a more dogged Croatia, but looks like the fairytale is on for Messi &amp; Argentina (&amp; not Modric 😬) <br>🇦🇷v🇭🇷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArgentinaVsCroatia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ArgentinaVsCroatia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Qatar2022?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Qatar2022</a> <a href="https://t.co/XTLZ1mO06F">pic.twitter.com/XTLZ1mO06F</a>

george @StokeyyG2

Lionel Messi is ONE game away from the World Cup trophy…<br><br>Are we about to see the greatest football moment in history on Sunday…?

Jamie Carragher @Carra23

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Messi%F0%93%83%B5?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Messi𓃵</a> the best there has ever been!

B/R Football @brfootball

Built different 🐐 <a href="https://t.co/m5dOaHqryE">pic.twitter.com/m5dOaHqryE</a>

Will it be a fairytale ending for Messi? Or is heartbreak on the horizon? One thing's for sure: Argentina have come a long way since the opening-round defeat to Saudi Arabia left them scrambling to escape the group stage.

Messi already has a legendary career wrapped up, and it's remarkable to think at 35 years old he is about to enter the biggest match of his life. Sunday's World Cup final can't come soon enough.