Lionel Messi is back in the World Cup final with Argentina on his mission to win soccer’s biggest prize for the first time.And, at 35, he could hardly be playing any better. Messi converted a penalty and had a hand in the other two goals by Julián Álvarez, leading Argentina to a 3-0 win over Croatia on Tuesday that set up a meeting with either France or Morocco in Sunday’s title match.
Argentina star Lionel Messi equalled Lothar Matthaus’ record for the most World Cup appearances with his 25th start in Tuesday’s semi-final against Croatia. Midfielder Leandro Paredes and defender Nicolas Tagliafico were brought into Argentina’s starting line-up.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni drafted in Tagliafico in place of the suspended left-back Marcos Acuna and Paredes took the spot of centre-half Lisandro Martinez. The switch means Argentina are likely to revert to four at the back rather than the five-man defence with advanced wing-backs that they used in the penalty shoot-out win over the Netherlands.
Scaloni sticked with the same forward line he operated against the Dutch with Messi playing behind Julian Alvarez. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic named an unchanged team to the one which beat Brazil on penalties in the last eight with Andrej Kramaric starting as the central striker.
Cristiano Ronaldo has already left the world cup . Leo Messi will play his second world cup final . The final will be his last world cup match .