Lionel Messi Confirms Qatar Final Will Be His Last World Cup Game
Messi confirms Qatar final will be his last World Cup game. During Argentina's 3-0 victory over Croatia, Lionel Messi announced that the upcoming World Cup final will be his last ever game.
Lionel Messi's lifelong dream of guiding Argentina to World Cup glory will remain alive until the very last day of Qatar 2022, as La Albiceleste outclassed a weary-looking Croatia in a 3-0 victory in Tuesday's semifinal match.
Argentina was in a commanding position at the break thanks to two goals scored in the first half: the first was a penalty kick scored by Messi, and the second was a lone goal scored by Julian Alvarez. Croatia never looked like they were going to recover from this position.
The victory was secured by Alvarez with Argentina's third goal in the second half, which came after a wonderful assist from Messi. This gave the South American team and its 35-year-old captain the opportunity to exorcise the demons of the 2014 final loss, in addition to securing the country's first World Cup title since 1986. Messi was named the tournament's best player.
Messi had some discomfort in his left hamstring during the game, but you wouldn't have known it from the way he bamboozled Joko Gvardiol, one of the best defenders in this tournament, with his winding, complicated run that led to Argentina's third goal. Messi felt the hamstring during parts of the game.
Even though Messi's near-superhuman abilities are undoubtedly diminishing as he plays into the latter stages of his career, the "little magician" still possesses the capacity to deliver brilliant moments precisely when his country requires him the most.
His performanceagainst the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, his goal against Mexico in the group stages, and his overall performance in Tuesday's semifinal have provided yet more memorable moments to a nation of 45 million people who consider him to be almost on par with a deity.
According to the Argentine embassy in Qatar, it is estimated that as many as 40,000 Argentina supporters made the trip to Qatar for this year's World Cup, and it appeared as though all of them were present inside the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Argentina bench and coaching staff started to join in with the rhythmic songs and chants that were being bellowed from the stands as the clock ticked deeper into injury time and it became clear that Argentina would win without a shadow of a doubt.
After the final whistle, Argentina's playerscelebrated their victory by standing in front of a massive wall of supporters wearing blue and white shirts and basking in the adulation of their legions of devoted fans.
It is almost impossible to believe that this is the same team that lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia just three weeks ago in its opening group stage match. That performance was so lifeless and devoid of inspiration that it caused some people to question whether or not Argentina would even make it out of the group stage. It is almost impossible to believe that this is the same team that lost.
Now, Messi will have one final opportunity to win the trophy he covets the most, and it will come against either France or Morocco. When asked whether Sunday’s game will be his last at a World Cup, Messi replied:
Yes. Surely yes. There’s a lot of years until the next one and I don’t think I have it in me and finishing like this is best. I feel a lot of happiness to be able to achieve this. To finish my World Cup career playing my last game in a final. Everything I’ve lived in this World Cup, what people experienced and how much the people back in Argentina are enjoying it all is very emotional.- Lionel Messi
I’m enjoying everything a lot, I feel strong to be able to face each match. We’ve come along making a lot of big sacrifices, like playing the extra time which wasn’t easy. We were tired but the group gave that little bit more, it was a very tough game which went the way we prepared for. We knew they would have the ball a lot and that we would have our chances. It was a well prepared match like we always manage, and I’m happy, I’m enjoying it all a lot.- Lionel Messi
Messi and Croatia's Luka Modri are both captains who have led their countries to World Cup defeats, and this would be their final chance to win football's most coveted prize.
Neither side was considered a tournament favorite ahead of Qatar 2022, but Croatia stunned the world by reaching the final four years ago and did so again in the previous round in Qatar, eliminating pre-tournament favorite Brazil on penalties in a display of sheer grit and determination.
Modri, Croatia's star player and a living legend in the small Balkan nation, has battle-hardened in the biggest matches and has been part of arguably Qatar's best midfield, alongside Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.