Lionel Messi will have his chance to advance from excellence to true immortality and offer his legacy all a soccer player could possibly hope for.
Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium, with Lionel Messi leading the way once more. He was the focus of the evening, as he always is. When one of the greatest players of all time is 35 years old and seeking the ultimate affirmation, that is how it happens.
Argentina will compete Sunday for the grand prize (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).
He contributed to his team's opening goal by calmly and forcefully converting from the penalty spot following build-up play from
[Related: Lionel Messi propels Argentina into World Cup final; his World Cup résumé stands out]
The real masterstroke came after 69 minutes when Messi made a brilliant move from close to the halfway line before slipping a pass for Alvarez to complete and eliminate any hope of a comeback.
On minute 34, Messi drove an unstoppable penalty into the top corner after goalie Dominik Livakovi fouled lvarez in the box. In addition to putting the South Americans ahead against the odds, it also gave Messi the opportunity to surpass Gabriel Batistuta as his country's all-time World Cup best scorer with 11, breaking their tie.