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Messi manipulates Croatia and takes Argentina to the final

Argentina qualified for the FIFA World Cup final after a 3-0 win over holders Croatia on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Lionel Messi opened Argentina’s goals from a 34th-minute penalty, which was scored by Julian Alvarez, after a collision with goalkeeper Dominic Levakovic, and five minutes later Alvarez added the second goal after an individual effort and a defense error of Croatia.

Croatia, comeback winners on penalties against Japan and Brazil in the last two rounds, tried to come from behind in the second half but the Argentine defense had no trouble keeping a clean sheet.

Alvarez sealed Argentina’s victory when Messi fired from the right and held the ball despite attempts from defender Yusco Gvardiol, before passing it to the Manchester City forward, who scored from close range in the 69th minute.

Argentina maintained their perfect record in their fifth World Cup semifinal appearance.

Argentina will play winners of defending champions France and Morocco, who meet on Wednesday.

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