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The faith of Messi and his band to lead Argentina to its third World Cup | CHRONICLE

A pass into the void found Julián Álvarez at full speed; The Manchester City striker defined poorly, weak, but he collided with the goalkeeper. The referee pointed to the area and Messi charged. It does not matter so much that it is a dubious foul as that the Argentine number 10 was able to convert it into his eleventh goal in the World Cup with the Albiceleste, another record for the prodigy from Rosario. The second goal was very similar: a cross-country run by a furious Álvarez who, already in the box, against the Croatian brand, manages to pass in front of the hit center and winger and, with a mixture of luck and another of conviction, finishes the counterattack with the inflated net. Those with memories remembered Kempes in 1978. It is hard not to flatter the resemblance of both movements.

Croatia failed to rebuild. The plan had worked and, at the same time, failed. The worst news any coach.

second round

The last half was predictable: Croatia advanced lines and looked for a quick discount that did not come. Few offensive variants despite taking risks, which speaks of a serious squad, but limited in terms of versatility. Instead, the match against Argentina took to wonders for Argentina, revitalized by the simplicity of the task ahead: endure the attacks and look for the energetic Álvarez or wait for inspiration from Messi. For southern happiness, both arrived.

Álvarez recovered the figure of the Argentine nine, pure power and delivery, protean in the round trip, intelligent in his area placement, successful in the definition. And Messi, the daily miracle, recovered the figure of the World Cup 10, the one from Mexico 86: timing in managing the match, unbearable in the one-on-one, king of overflow, dribbling and dribbling, lethal in assist and definition . The third goal was an exercise in individual virtuosity that Messi reserved, before, only for Barcelona. That he was able to tango with the Gvardiol trunk must be the final proof of his genius, if anyone needed more justification.

The connection between Messi and Julián Álvarez.  (Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP).

With the consummated win, the rest was a partly unnecessary spectacle: that of time passing. There was no drama, no shocks, no brawls, no great injustices, no rebellion. One team was better than the other and they both knew it. The self-recognition of the roles led to the change of Modric, a proper surrender, and everyone on the field understood that the matter was over.

90 more minutes

For Argentina, what comes next is the mother of all tests: the final opportunity to place Lionel Messi in the gallery of world champions, the title that is missing to sustain the comparison with history. They have how: they have a serious goalkeeper, they can play in a line of 4 or 5, they have a midfielder with claw and variations, the best creative in the world wears his uniform and they have a powerful, sweet, sharp offensive capacity. But more importantly: they believe.

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates today, after a semifinal match of the Qatar 2022 Soccer World Cup between Argentina and Croatia at the Lusail stadium (Qatar).  EFE / Juanjo Martin

It is not little, the latter. Much of what will happen on Sunday will depend on how much they believe. The other will be in the hands of Morocco or, better for everyone, France, because with the Gauls it would imply a train crash. The two exclusive figures of Qatar, Messi and Mbappé, fight for the same throne. The old crack against the rising star. The reward is the same: the third world title for his country.

Source: Elcomercio

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