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'Magical duo does it again': Messi, Alvarez show seals Argentina's World Cup 2022 finals berth; fans overjoyed

Argentina's magical duo of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez fired the South American giants to the Qatar World Cup 2022 finals with a 3-0 victory over 2018 runners-up Croatia at the Lusail Stadium on Wednesday.

football Lionel Messi Julian Alvarez show against Croatia seals Argentina Qatar World Cup 2022 finals berth; fans overjoyed snt
First Published Dec 14, 2022, 2:26 AM IST

Lionel Messi's dream to win the World Cup is just one game away after Argentina registered an emphatic 3-0 win over 2018 runners-up Croatia at the Qatar World Cup 2022 semi-finals on Wednesday. A packed Lusail Stadium in Doha witnessed a historic win as the 35-year-old magician came to the party along with sensational striker Julian Alvarez, whose brace sealed La Albiceleste's berth for the December 18 final. Argentina will take on the winner of the France vs Morocco semi-finals.

During Wednesday's semi-final clash, Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovi brought Julian Alvarez to the ground in the area, resulting in a penalty that Messi converted into the top corner to give his nation the lead after 33 minutes.

Also read: 'How's that a penalty?': Croatia fans unhappy as Argentina's Messi claims another World Cup record

After becoming the showpiece tournament's all-time record appearance maker (tied with Lothar Matthaus with 25 games), the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star slammed home a penalty to become Argentina's record goalscorer in the tournament with 11 goals.

football Lionel Messi Julian Alvarez show against Croatia seals Argentina Qatar World Cup 2022 finals berth; fans overjoyed snt

Six minutes later, Alvarez doubled the lead by advancing into the box following a quick Argentina counterattack, watching the ball rebound back into his path, and then tapping the ball home from eight yards out.

As Alexis MacAllister's close-range header came toward the goal, Livakovic needed to be alert to make an instinctual stop to deny the opposition as Lionel Scaloni's team began to turn the tables on them.

In the second half, Messi produced a stunning assist to help seal Argentina's berth in the finals after turning Joško Gvardiol inside-out on the byline before laying the ball into the path of Álvarez to slide into the bottom corner to make it three.

Argentina fans took to Twitter to express their joy at seeing their favourite team reach the finals of the Qatar World Cup 2022, with most supporters cheering the incredible duo of Messi and Alvarez.

Also read: Roberto Cejas, who shouldered Maradona after Argentina won 1986 World Cup, wants to lift Messi in Qatar

"All eyes are on Messi, but what a tournament for the 22-year-old Julian Alvarez from Calchin! Got fouled & Messi converted the penalty & scored the second vs Croatia. 3 goals so far at this World Cup for the little spider who just 10 years ago was asking Messi for a selfie," noted one Argentina enthusiast on Twitter.

Another fan stated, "4 World Cup goals for Julian Alvarez so far, only Messi and Mbappe with more. Those are elite numbers but looking at it alone almost still does a disservice to his completeness. Argentina's tournament changed post-Alvarez introduction."

"From 2012 to 2022. Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi. Stuff of dreams!" stated a third fan.

Here's a look at the reactions after Argentina book their finals berth at the Qatar World Cup 2022:

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