FIFA World Cup 2022 : Final at Qatar to be Lionel Messi’s last game for Argentina at WC stage

FIFA World Cup 2022 Final at Qatar to be Lionel Messi's last game for Argentina at WC stage

After Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Croatia in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Semifinal, captain and icon Lionel Messi spoke out about his choice to represent his country in the World Cup. Once the match ended Messi confirmed that the Finale at Lusail Stadium on Sunday (December 18) will be his final outing for his nation at the World cup stage. 

If his side are able to become World champions for the third time in their history, Messi cannot get a better farewell than that. Not only has he been the best play maker in this tournament with 3 assists, but he is also leading the race for the Golden boot – level with France’s Kylian Mbappe with 5 goals.

However, Argentina’s path towards the final was not an easy task as they suffered a shocking defeat in their very first match of the WC to the hands of Saudi Arabia. That defeat ended Argentina’s streak of 36 matches without a loss and questions were raised if the 2-time World champions can go all the way to win it. 

And just like a champion side, Argentina responded very positively in their following Group stage fixture. They squared off against continental rivals Mexico and registered a comfortable victory by 2-0. Then they met Poland in a do or die situation in their last group stage match, where the stakes were extremely high as only a win would have ensured their survival in the tournament. 

Argentina again registered a win by 2-0 to meet Australia at the round of 16. Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez took them to the last 8 where they defeated Netherlands by 4-3 on penalties. Last night La Albiceleste faced a Croatian side in the Semi-final and entered their 6th World cup final. 

The South Americans took the lead in the first half as they scored 2 goals within a space of 5 minutes. First Lionel Messi converted a penalty, followed by a sensational finish by Julian Alvarez. They broke Croatia’s back line very well and kept the attack on till Argentina scored their 3 goal. 

The third goal showed why Messi is so important for any team he plays for. His ability to take on even the best of defenders was on full display last night. The 34-year-old came down the right flank with the ball at his feet and dragged Josko Gvardiol (World cup’s most exciting defender) to their own box. 

That run by Messi showed signs of his vintage self as he squared the ball to Alvarez for a well executed tap-in. It was Messi’s 3rd assist of the tournament and Alvarez’s 4th goal. Their efforts secured a place for Argentina at the World cup 2022 Final. Their opponents will be finalized tonight as the defending champions France will take on Morocco. 

Meanwhile, Messi broke a few records last night as well. He became the joint most capped player in WC history with 25 and his appearance at the Final will make him the most capped player. He also overtook Gabriel Batistuta to become the highest goal scorer at WC with 11 goals.

Now he has the opportunity to cement his legacy at the World stage by winning the World cup which he has been chasing for the last 10 years. Under his captaincy, Argentina can end a 36-year drought and win the WC for the first time since 1986. 

While speaking to reporters after the match, the PSG forward said that the Final on Sunday will be his final WC appearance wearing the Sky Blue and white jersey. 

I feel very happy, to be able to achieve this, to finish my World cup journey by playing my last game in a Final. Its many years for the next one and i don’t think i will be able to do it. And to finish like this, its the best. Its all well and good (the records) but the important thing is to be able to achieve the group objective, which is the most beautiful thing of all. We are just one step away, after fighting hard, and we’re going to give everything to try to make it happen this time.    

Also Read – FIFA World Cup : How similar is Argentina’s 2022 team as compared to the 1986 World Cup winning team?