Enjoy Messi’s mesmerizing photos after scoring against Croatia in the 2022 World Cup semi-finals – discover them now.

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Relive Messi’s Magical Moments from the 2022 World Cup Semi-Finals Against Croatia
It’s been nine months since Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory in the 2022 World Cup. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the mesmerizing moments of Messi’s performance in the semi-final match against Croatia.

Lionel Messi’s Stellar Performance:
In the crucial semi-final clash between Argentina and Croatia at the 2022 World Cup, Lionel Messi shone brightly. Messi not only scored a goal but also provided an assist, while Julian Alvarez netted a brace, leading Argentina to a convincing 3-0 victory.

The Gvardiol vs. Messi Showdown:
Before the semi-final, Josko Gvardiol was touted as one of the best defenders of the tournament. However, when faced with Lionel Messi in the 69th minute, the young Croatian talent was outplayed on the right flank not once but thrice. Gvardiol was left helpless and frustrated as he watched the Argentine superstar dribble past him in the penalty area, ultimately setting up Julian Alvarez to seal the 3-0 win. In this iconic moment, the age difference between Gvardiol, a 20-year-old, and Messi, a 35-year-old, seemed to be reversed. Messi appeared as a confident, exuberant, and driven young man, while Gvardiol seemed helpless against the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

A Summary of the Match:
The match against Croatia served as a summary of the entire encounter. Croatia failed to display the fierce competitiveness and resilience they had shown in their previous knockout stage matches, which often extended beyond 120 minutes. On the other hand, Messi and his teammates delivered an outstanding performance with a determination to help the 35-year-old superstar claim the World Cup title he rightfully deserved.

Messi’s Record-Breaking Performance:
In Qatar 2022, Messi achieved a historic feat by scoring and assisting in a single match for the third time. He set a record by accomplishing this feat four times in World Cup history. Before the tournament, Messi had never scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup. However, in just over a week, he netted goals against Australia in the round of 16, the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, and Croatia in the semi-finals. His penalty kick goal also made him Argentina’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup history with 11 goals. Messi contributed five goals and four assists, accounting for 75% of Argentina’s goals in the tournament.

Julian Alvarez: Argentina’s Other Hero:
In this match, Argentina had another hero alongside Messi – Julian Alvarez. A long-time admirer of Messi, the 22-year-old forward scored a brace while also earning a penalty that Messi converted to open the scoring. Alvarez’s dynamic play and his ability to exploit opponents’ mistakes were evident. He sprinted from midfield to capitalize on errors by Juranovic and Borna Sosa, finishing with precision to defeat Livakovic.

Croatia’s Descent:
Croatia, which had previously excelled in the knockout stages, failed to score a goal for the first time in the World Cup knockout rounds. Their spirit dwindled after conceding two quick goals, reaching its lowest point after Messi’s iconic assist. Gvardiol tirelessly chased after Messi but eventually succumbed to Messi’s decisive move. This allowed Alvarez, the only Man City player remaining in the World Cup 2022, to easily slot the ball into the nearly empty net for Argentina’s fourth goal.

Argentina had several opportunities to extend their lead, but the 3-0 victory was enough to satisfy Messi and his teammates. The Lusail Stadium witnessed Lionel Scaloni’s squad’s early defeat to Saudi Arabia, but it also became the stage for Argentina’s beautiful football, securing their sixth World Cup final appearance. The unattractive memories from the match against the Netherlands were left behind, and at Lusail, Messi had a chance to fulfill his ultimate career aspiration – winning the World Cup, as Argentina prepared to face France or Morocco in the final.

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup final football match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP) (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR – DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his sides first goal from the penalty spot during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi controls the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 26, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
18 December 2022, Qatar, Lusail: Soccer, World Cup, Argentina – France, final round, final, Lusail Stadium, Argentina’s Lionel Messi in action. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

Soccer Football – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Semi Final – Argentina v Croatia – Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar – December 13, 2022 Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

TOPSHOT – Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Argentina and Australia at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 3, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

18 December 2022, Qatar, Lusail: Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa