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Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 on Tuesday, thanks in large part to all-world superstar Lionel Messi.
Messi, at age 35, still remains dominant on the pitch, with his contributions finally dealing the knockout blow to upstart Croatia.
As inarguably one of the greatest soccer players of all time, he now has a chance to win the final, most elusive trophy of his career.
Argentina had reached the semifinals after a hard-fought win over the Netherlands, which saw the referee sent home.
Throughout the 2022 World Cup, Croatia had shown remarkable resilience. Luka Modric and Co knocked out Japan on penalties, then managed the exact same feat against tournament favorites Brazil.
But Messi helped ensure there would be no such late match drama in the semifinals.
In the 34th minute, he opened the scoring by easily converting on a penalty.
He then later contributed an absolutely gorgeous assist, going 1v1 and demolishing his mark before delivering a perfect pass in front of goal.
In combination with another fantastic Argentina goal from Julian Alvarez, the Albicelestes were through easily.
Messi Could Go Out on Top
Argentina has been in this position before, losing 1-0 to Germany in the World Cup final in 2014.
But the stakes are even higher this year.
While nothing’s been made official, this is likely Messi’s last chance to win the Cup with Argentina.
This presents him with the opportunity to win the top tournament and retire from international competition, echoing previous stars.
Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in 2016 and then retired. Pete Sampras won the 2002 U.S. Open in his final match. Bill Russell retired in 1969 after beating the Lakers yet again for his 11th NBA title.
Legendary golfer Bobby Jones retired after winning the Grand Slam in 1930.
Could Messi accomplish the same feat in his international career?
France and Morocco play Wednesday to determine who will stand in the way of completing his remarkable career.
While Morocco would obviously present an easier opponent, he might relish the chance to get revenge on France, who sent Argentina home in 2018.
Either way, it’ll be must-see TV.