FIFA WC 2022, Argentina crush Croatia to reach final: Stats
Lionel Messi starred as Argentina thrashed Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Croatia dominated possession for long stretches but it was Argentina who got the breakthrough in the 34th minute. Messi converted from the spot, with Man City's Julian Alvarez adding the second soon. Post-half-time, the 35-year-old set up Alvarez for a brace to seal the duel. Here's more.
Messi shatters these records
Messi (11) has now become Argentina's record scorer in the World Cup, breaking a tie with Gabriel Batistuta. He now holds the joint-most appearances in the history of the World Cup, equaling Germany's Lothar Matthaus (25). As per Opta, no player has scored or assisted in more different World Cup matches than Messi (13) since the 1966 edition.
Records galore for Messi
As per Squawka, Messi (11) has now scored more World goals than any other player still active at the international level. Germany's Thomas Muller (10) and France's Kylian Mbappe (9) follow suit. Messi also has the most assists by an active player in the World Cup (8). He now has 96 goals in his 171 appearances for Argentina in all competitions.
Alvarez inks these numbers
As per Opta, Alvarez has scored in six of his eight starts for Argentina across competitions. Notably, he has netted four goals in the FIFA World Cup 2022. As per William Hill, Alvarez (4) has now scored more World Cup goals than Sergio Aguero (2). Alvarez now owns seven goals for Argentina in all competitions since his debut in 2021.
Distinguishable feat for Messi
As per Opta, Messi has become only the sixth player to score in the last 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals at a single World Cup tournament (since 1986 when the last 16 was introduced). The Argentine superstar joins Salvatore Schillaci (1990), Roberto Baggio (1994), Hristo Stoichkov (1994), Davor Suker (1998), and Wesley Sneijder (2010).
A look at the match stats
Croatia enjoyed more of the ball, clocking 61% possession and attempting 12 shots with two on target. Argentina had 39% possession but attempted nine shots, including seven on target. Croatia (87%) made more accurate passes than Argentina (84%). Argentina recorded 23 tackles, eight interceptions, and 21 clearances, thereby denying Croatia from opening their account.
Other interesting numbers from the match
As per Squawka, Messi has made the joint-most assists and goals at the World Cup since 1966 (19). He has equaled Miroslav Klose and Ronaldo Nazario. As per Opta, Alvarez (22y 316d) is the youngest player to score twice in a World Cup semi-final or final since Pele (17y 249d) in 1958.
Messi's emphatic numbers in FIFA World Cup 2022
As per Squawka, Messi is now tied with Mbappe for the most goals in the WC 2022 (5 each). He also has the joint-most assists alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, and Antoine Griezmann (3 each). Messi has also attempted 27 shots, more than Mbappe (22). Messi has also created 18 chances, the most by a player in Qatar, with Griezmann (17) following suit.
How did the match pan out?
Argentina earned a penalty when Alvarez was brought down by Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Messi aced from the spot to break the deadlock. Alvarez doubled the lead for the Albicelestes from a close-range finish. Argentina were unlucky to get a header parried away but found the third after the break when Messi fed the ball to Alvarez to complete the rout.