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Argentina 3-0 Croatia: Player ratings as Albiceleste reach final

Argentina progressed to the World Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Croatia today.

Croatia had the better of the early stages, but that didn’t stop La Albiceleste from taking the lead. Julian Alvarez raced onto Enzo Fernandez’s through ball before being brought down by Dominik Livakovic.

Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot and powerfully converted his penalty into the top right corner. This was his fifth goal of the tournament, taking him level with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe in the Golden Boot race.

Shortly afterwards, the South American side doubled their advantage on the counter-attack. Alvarez went through on goal after a couple of fortunate bounces and coolly finished.

And they almost made it three just before half time. Messi’s corner was flicked towards the far corner by Alexis Mac Allister, but his header was brilliantly turned past the post by Livakovic.

Early in the second half, Messi came close to netting his second of the game. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner exchanged passes with Fernandez and worked himself some space inside the box, but his effort from a tight angle was saved.

But it wasn’t long before the third goal came for Argentina. Messi was once again influential, twisting past Josko Gvardiol before teeing up Alvarez for a tap-in.

From then on, it was a comfortable outing for Lionel Scaloni’s men. They came close to adding a late fourth when substitute Paulo Dybala found Mac Allister with a scooped pass, but the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder could only volley wide of the near post. The final whistle went shortly afterwards.

Argentina will play the winner of France vs Morocco in Sunday’s final. Meanwhile, the loser will face Croatia in the third-place play-off.


Emiliano Martinez (6/10) – A spectator for most of the game. Coped well when called upon.

Nahuel Molina (7/10) – Rarely troubled by Perisic. Offered plenty of energy going forward.

Cristian Romero (7/10) – Kept the Croatian frontline at bay. Booked early in the second half.

Nicolas Otamendi (7/10) – Tough to beat and calm on the ball. Also booked.

Nicolas Tagliafico (7/10) – Got into good areas going forward and let little past him.

Rodrigo De Paul (7/10) – Helped limit Modric’s influence on the game with a hard-working performance.

Enzo Fernandez (8/10) – Highly influential at both ends of the pitch. Great pass in the lead up to the penalty and could have had an assist.

Leandro Paredes (6/10) – Sometimes sloppy on the ball but battled well. Substituted in the second half.

Alexis Mac Allister (8/10) – Highly influential in midfield. Unlucky not to score on two occasions.

Lionel Messi (8/10) – Another fine performance from the 35-year-old. Took his penalty brilliantly and capped off a good night with a wonderful assist.

Julian Alvarez (9/10) *MOTM* – Involved in everything Argentina did going forward. Won the penalty for the opener and scored twice.


Lisandro Martinez (6/10)

Exequiel Palacios (6/10)

Paulo Dybala (7/10)

Joaquin Correa (NA/10)

Juan Foyth (NA/10)


Dominik Livakovic (6/10) – Conceded a penalty in the first half. Somewhat made amends with a couple of good saves.

Josip Juranovic (4/10) – Could have done more to prevent Alvarez’s first goal. Didn’t offer much at either end.

Dejan Lovren (4/10) – Really struggled to deal with Alvarez. Sat far too deep in the lead up to the penalty.

Josko Gvardiol (5/10) – Torn apart by Messi for the third goal. By far his weakest performance of the tournament.

Borna Sosa (4/10) – Should have done much better for Alvarez’s first goal. Substituted at half time.

Marcelo Brozovic (5/10) – Started well but lost control after Croatia fell behind. Substituted early in the second half.

Luka Modric (5/10) – Showed a few nice touches but way off his best.

Mateo Kovacic (6/10) – Ran the show in the first 30 minutes. Struggled after the opening goal.

Mario Pasalic (5/10) – Didn’t do much while on the pitch. Substituted at half time.

Andrej Kramaric (4/10) – Often found himself isolated. Rarely got the better of Romero and Otamendi.

Ivan Perisic (4/10) – Completely anonymous. Did nothing to test the Argentinian backline, and offered little in defence.


Nikola Vlasic (5/10)

Mislav Orsic (5/10)

Bruno Petkovic (5/10)

Lovro Majer (NA/10)

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