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Lionel Messi’s Argentina face Croatia on Tuesday December 13 at the Lusail stadium in the semi-finals. The Argentinians are one step away from the final, as in 2014 in Brazil. For his fifth appearance at the World Cup, the former Barcelona player is in sparkling form.
From our special envoy to Qatar,
The semi-final between Lionel Messi’s Argentina and the Croatia of Luka Modric has everything to be one of the summits of this World Cup. The two Ballons d’Or are undoubtedly on the eve of their international retirement. One will shed tears of joy, while the other will have to dry his. Whether Modric has still not digested the defeat in the final against France in 2018 in Russia, Messi experienced the same tragedy against Germany in 2014 in Brazil.
Messi, the source of inspiration
If Argentina won two World Cups, in 1978 and 1986, the Paris Saint-Germain player is waiting for his Holy Grail to bow out at the World Cup, after five appearances. At 35, he displays a resplendent form with the selection, as with the club of the capital. After his goal from the penalty spot against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, he joined Gabriel Batistuta at the top of the ranking of Argentine scorers at the World Cup (10 goals).
« Messi is our leader. It is our source of inspiration to go as far as possible “, comments his teammate Nicolás Tagliafico, about the one who wants to join Diego Maradona in the pantheon of Argentine and world football.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or has won everything, individually and collectively, except the World Cup. In Qatar, the Albiceleste captain, who has already scored four times, is accompanied in his quest by the formidable Argentinian supporters, those noisy “hinchas” who will still be there at the Lusail stadium, which Argentina has made its new home since She will be playing her fourth game there since the start of the tournament and intends to return there on Sunday for the final. “ He gives us incredible strength, they made huge sacrifices to be with us, we have to fight for them “, announces coach Lionel Scaloni.
The bad memory of 2018
« Argentina is not just about Messi, they have a number of great players. So we have to stop the whole Argentina team “Says Croatian striker Bruno Petkovic, after the victory against Brazil in the quarters.
If the poster is unprecedented in the semi-finals of the World Cup, it is not in a World Cup since the two teams met in Russia in 2018, during the group stage.
In Nizhny Novgorod, the Croats largely beat the Argentinians 3-0. The match qualified the Croats for the round of 16 and forced Lionel Messi to finally seek qualification against Nigeria in the last match of the first round. Luka Modric had scored the second Croatian goal. And Messi must remember that very well…