Lionel Messi produced yet another unbelievable performance that has left the football world in awe as Argentina secured their place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final on Tuesday (December 13).
The iconic forward captivated fans in La Albiceleste's 3-0 win over Croatia in the first semifinal at the Lusail Stadium. Messi, 35, opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a penalty after Julian Alvarez had clattered into Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
The Paris Saint-Germain attacker had no problem converting from the spot, smashing into the top corner of Livakovic's net. Alvarez grabbed a second in the 39th minute before Messi conjured up more brilliance in the 69th.
Argentina's No. 10 strode forward on the right flank and was up against Josko Gvardiol, one of the best defenders of the tournament. Messi twisted and turned away from the RB Leipzig man. The Argentine advanced down the right and sent an inch-perfect pass to Alvarez to fire in from close range.
It was a performance that capped a memorable night for the Argentina captain. He became the nation's top goalscorer in FIFA World Cup competition with 11 goals in 25 appearances. The Argentine also moved level with German legend Lothar Mattheus for the most appearances by a player at the tournament (25).
Fans were left stunned by another performance that has many deeming Messi not just the greatest of all time but as an alien. The debate between himself and longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo is over, according to some.
Here are some reactions from fans on Twitter:
Argentina's Lionel Messi wins record 10th FIFA World Cup Man of the Match award
Lionel Messi was named the Man of the Match for his incredible performance in the 3-0 win over Croatia.
It marked the fourth time he won the award in this FIFA World Cup campaign, joining Wesley Sneijder as the only two players to have achieved the feat. Sneijder did so for the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup campaign, where the Oranje lost to Spain in the final.
Messi now has the most matches played (25), most goal contributions (19), and most Man of the Match awards in FIFA World Cup history. His focus will turn to Sunday, (December 18) for the final, when Argentina will face either France or Morocco.
Lionel Messi will become the all-time appearance maker in tournament's history during the final on Sunday. It may be his last appearance at a World Cup, and there would be no better way to bow out than by lifting the trophy.
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