Published on 15 Dec 2022 11:02 am (UK Time)
Argentina and France both progress through to the final of the 2022 World Cup as Croatia and Morocco face off in the third-place play-off.
Argentina 3-0 Croatia
Lionel Messi put on a ‘phenomenal‘ display against Croatia in the semi-finals, orchestrating the Argentinian attack, and devastatingly carving apart the Croatian defense.
With it being his last World Cup, the poetic story of Messi lifting the trophy in his final tournament lives on, as they were too hot to handle for a Croatia side that struggled to lay a glove on Argentina.
The scoring began when Julian Alvarez was brought down in the box by Dominik Livakovic to give Argentina a penalty. A spot kick that was rifled into the top corner by Messi, sending the Argentina fans into euphoria.
The second came shortly after, as Julian Alvarez again made a nuisance of himself, getting his reward of a few fortunate bounces after his phenomenal run from the halfway line, poking the ball past the onrushing Livakovic.
As the next goal of the game was crucial for the fate of both sides, Messi decided to culminate a moment of magic, bamboozling Josko Gvardiol and putting the ball on a platter for Alvarez to guide in for Argentina’s third and final goal of the game.
A disappointing night for Croatian fans, as they came so close to achieving back-to-back finals, but a side that can ultimately hold their heads high after their achievements in the past two World Cups.
Argentina will come face to face with the side that sent them home in the last World Cup Finals, as they will be eyeing up revenge from their 4-3 defeat by denying France of a back-to-back World Cup victory and lifting the trophy in what would be a historic moment for football.
France 2-0 Morocco
Antoine Griezmann put in one of the performances of the tournament, as France flatter to deceive again, with being under copious amounts of pressure for large spells of this game.
Theo Hernandez put France 1-0 up in only the fifth minute after the ball broke his way from Kylian Mbappe’s deflected shot, controlling a strike beyond Yassine Bounou.
However, Morocco was not phased by France’s early goal, as an injury to Romain Saiss in the 21st minute saw them revert back to their 4-3-3 formation, giving them more freedom to express their talent and having control over possession.
Morocco continued to knock on the door, but lacked any clinical nature, being unfortunate in moments not to score.
But France later sealed the fate of the Moroccans, as another of Kylian Mbappe’s deflected shots this time fell perfectly in the path of substitute Randal Kolo Muani, who tapped the ball into the empty Moroccan net, guaranteeing France a spot in another World Cup final.
A sad end to an exciting run for Morocco, as they united the African, Arab, and Muslim worlds by becoming the first African, Arab, and Muslim nations to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals, beating Spain, Portugal, and Belgium in the process. A tournament that they should take great pride in, as they shocked the world and created history.
Meanwhile, France progresses onto the final of the tournament, to face up against another top side, as they will need to accentuate their performance levels if they are to effectively deny the inform strike partnership of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez.