Lionel Messi Argentina vs Croatia FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-final
Lionel Messi. File photo: Twitter/FIFA

Messi confirms retirement; World Cup Final will be last match for Argentina star

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Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi has confirmed that the FIFA 2022 World Cup Final will be his last match for his country.

Messi told the Argentine media outlet, Diario Deportivo Ole, “I feel very happy to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final.”

Also read: Messi sets record as Argentina enters World Cup final in Qatar

“It’s many years for the next one and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it’s the best,” added Messi.

Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 in semi-final

Messi scored from a penalty, and gave crucial assists for Julian Alvarez to score the other two goals, as Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Wednesday at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

The 35-year-old became Argentina’s leading goalscorer in World Cups, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s 10 goals. With his goal against Croatia, Messi now has 11 goals.

Messi is playing in his fifth World Cup for Argentina, one more than Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano.

Messi delights

The PSG star played one of his best games in recent times in front of a capacity crowd.

“Argentina is, once again, in the World Cup final. Enjoy it!” Messi urged his teammates. “We’ve been through tough situations, other very good ones. Today we’re experiencing something spectacular.”

Also read: Full coverage of FIFA World Cup 2022

Argentina arrived in Qatar as one of the tournament favourites, unbeaten in 36 matches. They stumbled in their opening game, losing 1-2 to Saudi Arabia. Since then, they have fought hard to reach the finals of the World Cup for the sixth time, and brought thousands of fans to the streets in celebration in Argentina.

Argentina will face either France, the defending champion, or Morocco, who are in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time, in Sunday’s final at Lusail Stadium.

Also read: Lionel Messi claims another World Cup record

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