Superstar Lionel Messi led Argentina to a commanding 3-0 victory over 2018 runners-up Croatia to reach the final of Qatar’s football World Cup.
The 35-year-old captain opened the scoring in the 34th minute after converting a penalty won by striker Julian Alvarez when he was brought down by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
Messi went on to set up Alvarez for the following two goals that chiselled away Croatia’s chances of making it to a second straight final and 37-year-old captain Luka Modric’s dreams of hoisting the cup.
While Croatia had more possession of the ball throughout Tuesday’s encounter, they were not able to register a single shot on goal.
The European side will now go on to play in the third-place playoff at Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.
Messi’s performance made a powerful statement at Lusail Stadium, where Argentina will return on Sunday to face the victors of Wednesday’s semifinal match between France and Morocco.