Lionel Messi fires Argentina to World Cup final after 3-0 win against Croatia

Lionel Messi is now just one win away from crowning his career with a World Cup winners medal, as ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott reports

Argentina have become the first team to make it to the 2022 World Cup final after beating Croatia 3-0 in Qatar.

Lionel Messi put the South American nation ahead in the 34th minute with a coolly slotted penalty, before Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez netted a sublime counter-attacking goal to give Argentina a 2-0 half-time lead.

Alvarez then added to his tally in the second half to complete the scoring and book Argentina's place in the final.

Victory means they will now face the winner of France versus Morocco, who meet in the tournament's other semi-final on Wednesday.

A win for Argentina would give them and Messi their first World Cup title in nearly 40 years, with their last triumph coming in 1986 when they boasted a team including the legendary Diego Maradona.

Argentina players celebrate their World Cup semi-final win over Croatia. Credit: AP

Argentina's most recent appearance in the final came during the 2014 World Cup, in Brazil, when they lost 1-0 to Germany.

Despite advancing to the closing match of this year's tournament, Argentina's journey has been far from straight forward.

In their opening group-stage game they lost 2-1 against Saudi Arabia, before recovering to beat Mexico and Poland 2-0 in their next two fixtures.

During the knockout stages of the tournament, Argentina eliminated Australia by a 2-1 scoreline, but needed penalties to advance past the Netherlands.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…