LUSAIL, Qatar (AP)The Latest from the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia:
Argentina has beaten Croatia 3-0 to reach the World Cup final.
Julian Alvarez scored twice and Lionel Messi added a goal from the penalty spot to lead Argentina to its sixth World Cup final and second in the last three tournaments. La Albiceleste lost the 2014 final to Germany, and won the title in 1978 and 1986.
Argentina will face the winner of Wednesday’s France-Morocco semifinal.
Julian Alvarez has scored to give Argentina a 3-0 lead over Croatia in the World Cup semifinals.
Alvarez scored in the 69th minute. He also scored to make it 2-0 in the 39th. Lionel Messi scored the first goal from the penalty spot in the 34th minute.
Lionel Messi scored a penalty to help Argentina take a 2-0 lead over Croatia at halftime in the World Cup semifinals.
Julian Alvarez also scored for the two-time champions.
Messi put his penalty into the top right-hand corner in the 34th minute for his fifth goal of the tournament, tied for the most with France striker Kylian Mbappe.
Alvarez was brought down by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic for the penalty and the striker scored himself five minutes later after a run from the halfway line. The ball bounced off two Croatia defenders and popped up for Alvarez to poke in a finish from close range.
Croatia had been dominating possession before Messi’s goal.
Argentina is on course to reach its sixth World Cup final.
Julian Alvarez has scored to give Argentina a 2-0 lead over Croatia in the World Cup semifinals.
Alvarez scored in the 39th minute.
Lionel Messi has given Argentina a 1-0 lead in the World Cup semifinal match against Croatia. Messi scored from the penalty spot in the 34th minute.
It was Messi’s fifth goal of the tournament, the same as Kylian Mbappe.
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and midfielder Mateo Kovacic were given yellow cards before the penalty.
Lionel Messi tied the record for most appearances at the World Cup when he played for the 25th time for Argentina at soccer’s biggest tournament.
Lothar Matthaus of Germany previously held the record outright.
Messi is playing in his fifth and likely final World Cup. He will have a chance to break the record because Argentina will play in either the final on Sunday or the third-place playoff on Saturday.
The World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia has started at Lusail Stadium.
The winner will face either defending champion France or Morocco on Sunday in the final.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni dismissed criticism of his players’ behavior during the feisty quarterfinal match against the Netherlands.
There were 17 yellow cards – a record for a World Cup match – and one sending-off as players clashed on numerous occasions before and after Argentina won a penalty shootout to advance to the semifinals.
”We have to remove this taboo that we do not know how to lose and we do not know how to win,” Scaloni said. ”We lost our first game with Saudi Arabia and went quietly to the hotel to continue preparing for what was coming.
Lionel Messi will captain Argentina and make his 25th World Cup appearance to tie the all-time record with Lothar Matthaus of Germany when Argentina plays Croatia in the semifinals.
Leandro Paredes has been recalled in central midfield as Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni reverts to a four-man defense. Center back Lisandro Martinez has been dropped.
Andrej Kramaric will play up front instead of Bruno Petkovic for Croatia. Luka Modric is the team’s captain.
Lineups for the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and Croatia:
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico, Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina, Alexis Mac Allister, Leandro Paredes, Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo De Paul, Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi.
Croatia: Dominik Livakovic, Dejan Lovren, Borna Sosa, Josko Gvardiol, Josip Juranovic, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, Mario Pasalic, Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric.
Argentina plays Croatia on Tuesday in the first World Cup semifinal match, and the winner will face either defending champion France or Morocco in Sunday’s final at Lusail Stadium.
Lionel Messi and Luka Modric have led Argentina and Croatia to the final four with stellar performances, and both are looking to cap their careers with a World Cup title.
Messi and Argentina lost in the 2014 final to Germany, and Modric and Croatia lost in the 2018 final to France.
How do you stop Messi?
Croatia has already ended Neymar’s World Cup by beating Brazil in the quarterfinals. Now it hopes to do the same to Lionel Messi in the semifinals on Tuesday.
It’s more than Luka Modric in Croatia.
The Real Madrid midfielder isn’t the only player for the big occasion in the Croatia squad. Ivan Perisic is another of the team’s veterans at the age of 33 and has scored more goals at major tournaments than any other Croatian.
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