In pictures: Argentina v Croatia
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Argentina have booked their place in the World Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Croatia. Lionel Messi scored the opening goal from the penalty spot after Julian Alvarez was brought down by the goalkeeper. The Manchester City striker got on the scoresheet himself twice to drive his team into the final. Express Sport takes a look at how every player performed…
EMILIANO MARTINEZ 7
Couldn’t bear to watch Messi’s penalty but had his eye on pretty much everything else. Solid show.
NAHUEL MOLINA 6
Croatia had their best plays on his flank and he gave Perisic too much space on occasions. Nothing disastrous though.
CRISTIAN ROMERO 7
Always watchful for the sort of passing Modric can tear defences apart with, his command of defence was strong.
NICOLAS OTAMENDI 7
Was tested by a determined Kramaric but proved equal to it generally, putting in some strong tackles.
NICOLAS TAGLIAFICO 6
First start in the tournament due to the suspensions it was steady deputy display to see Argentina through.
RODRIGO DE PAUL 6
Probably the quietest of Argentina’s forward-thinking players,
ENZO FERNANDEZ 7
Bent one early shot around the post and great pass to Alvarez to set him on his way to winning the penalty.
LEANDRO PAREDES 6
Had one long-range shot that went straight at the goalkeeper but did a good enough job pinning midfield.
ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER 7
Terrier-like at chasing down any loose ball and might even have scored with a fierce downward header.
LIONEL MESSI 8
The star, inevitably, creating space wherever he needed it and showed exactly how a captain should bury a penalty.
JULIAN ALVAREZ 9
Brilliant anticipation to win the penalty. Perseverance got him his first goal and a second tap-in thoroughly deserved.
LISANDRO MARTINEZ (for Paredes 62) 6
PALACIOS (for De Paul 74)
DYBALA (for Alvarez 74)
DOMINIK LIVAKOVIC 7
His usual penalty heroics could do nothing to stop Messi and he finally ran out of saves to keep Croatia in it.
JOSIP JURANOVIC 5
Has to be disappointed with his first tackle on Alvarez in the build up to the second goal – Croatia needed better.
DEJAN LOVREN 5
Allowed Alvarez to steal a march on him and run off his shoulder to earn the first-half penalty.
JOSKO GVARDIOL 7
So strong so often at the back, if anything it was the players around him that proved more of a weak link.
BORNA SOSA 5
Got back for the second tackle before the second goal but then did not make it – a lapse that spoiled his night.
LUKA MODRIC 6
A rare moment of miscontrol allowed Argentina to run through Croatia to win the penalty that set them on their way.
MARCELO BROZOVIC 5
Another one who failed to show up for Croatia and his number was up just five minutes into the second half.
MATEO KOVACIC 7
The most industrious and effective of Croatia’s illustrious midfield but he could not do it on his own.
MARIO PASALIC 5
Struggled to get a toehold game and no surprise he was one of those substituted at half time.
ANDREJ KRAMARIC 6
Direct in trying to retrieve the game for Croatia but it was all too little too late.
IVAN PERISIC 6
A neat chip before the penalty could have been the opener but generally he was too clever and not effective enough.
18 MISLAV ORSIC (for Sosa, ht) 6
13 NIKOLA VLASIC (for Pasalic, ht) 6
16 BRUNO PETKOVIC (for Brozovic, 50) 6
14 LIVAJA (for Kramaric 72)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Julian Alvarez
REFEREE: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
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