'How's that a penalty?': Croatia fans unhappy as Argentina's Messi claims another World Cup record
Legendary forward Lionel Messi surpassed Gabriel Batistuta to become Argentina's all-time leading World Cup goalscorer with an unstoppable penalty during their clash against Croatia in the Qatar 2022 semi-finals.
Legendary forward Lionel Messi created history on Wednesday at the Qatar World Cup 2022, and looked every inch like a man on a mission to fire Argentina into the grand finale on December 18.
During Argentina's semi-final clash against Croatia at Lusail stadium, 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.
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.
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. At half-time Argentina was leading 2-0 over Croatia.
However, what has sparked a massive debate is Messi's penalty, which Croatian fans are unhappy that the referee did not go for a VAR check for the same.
"FIFA doing everything possible to get MESSI the world cup trophy. That was a very wrong penalty to give!" said an angry fan on Twitter.
Another irked observer said, "How the hell is that a penalty, the attacking player literally ran into the goalkeeper. Messi being given the world cup on a silver platter. No VAR check also."
A third Croatia fan noted, "This tournament is rigged for Argentina to win, no VAR checks as long as Messi is going to take the penalty. What a penalty , Alvarez literally clattered in Livkovic, what was the goalkeeper supposed to do there?"
A fourth enthusiast remarked, "Can anyone with even an iota of football knowledge advise on how come that was a penalty !! FIFA biased for Messi."
Here's a look at the reaction of Croatian fans to the penalty awarded to Messi during the Qatar World Cup 2022 semi-finals: