The two-time champions beat Croatia 3-0 in their semi-final match at Lusail Stadium, rolling over Julian Alvarez two goals and that of Messi from the penalty spot. It was a contrasting victory for Argentina, having shown more courage than flair to beat the Netherlands on penalties in the quarter-finals.
“We are a smart team, we know how to read the game, we know how to suffer when necessary, when to press. Every detail counts in every game,” Messi told a press conference after the semi-final win. .
“We knew that sometimes they weren’t really neat and would leave space behind. I appreciate that a lot. I feel really good, strong enough to face every game,” said Messi, who equalized with The french team. Kylian Mbappe as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, said.
Messi made the most of the available spaces to set up Alvarez for the third goal after a superb signing drive capped a remarkable performance.
“In the previous game (against the Netherlands), extra time was not easy. Today we were tired, but we got up to get this victory. We played very well, we prepared to play that way because we knew we would. “I don’t have the ball and I would need to run in this game. So we prepared very well for this game. Like we always do,” Messi added.
Messi and Alvarez launch Argentina past Croatia in World Cup final
Argentina are in the hunt for their third World Cup title, and first since 1986, with a rejuvenated Messi at the helm of their pursuit.
“Personally I’m very happy, I appreciate it a lot and I’m happy to be able to help my team to make things happen. The first game was a blow. For us to start in this way was difficult, we didn’t think not losing to Saudi Arabia was a test but we proved how strong we are,” said Messi, whose side started their campaign with a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
“It was very difficult because every game was a final for us. We were aware that if we didn’t win it would be more complicated,” Messi said.
Argentina will face either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday.
(With agency contributions)