Argentina will take on defending champions France in the final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday. Argentina eye a third World Cup triumph, and their first in 36 years. La Albiceleste had lifted the title back in 1978 and 1986, with the late great Diego Maradona playing a major role in both triumphs. Argentina also reached the finals in 1990 and 2014, but lost on both occasions to Germany. Sunday’s final will be Argentina’s sixth, but the journey hasn’t been the easiest one for the Lionel Messi-led side.
Here’s Argentina’s road to the FIFA World Cup final:
Argentina were placed in Group C, alongside Saudi Arabia, Poland and Mexico.
Their opening match against Saudi Arabia ended in a 1-2 defeat, despite Messi giving the South American champions an early lead.
In their second match, Messi was on target once again as Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0.
In the third and final group game against Poland, Julian Alvarez and Alexis Mac Allister scored to hand Argentina a 2-0 success, as well as the top spot.
Round of 16 (Argentina vs Australia)
Argentina came into the knockouts with a lot of optimism. Messi took the centre stage once again, as he opened the scoring against the Socceroos.
Alvarez then put Argentina 2-0 ahead, before Australia almost staged a comeback.
Australia, after pulling one back thanks to Enzo Fernandez’s own goal, almost equalised in the dying moments of the match, but Emiliano Martinez had other ideas as he made crucial save to take Argentina into the next round.
Quarter-Final (Argentina vs Netherlands)
Messi put on yet another masterclass, teeing up Nahuel Molina for the opening goal, before scoring from the spot to give Argentina a 2-0 lead.
However, the Netherlands threw the kitchen sink at Argentina in the last 15 minutes, plus stoppage time, to take the game to penalties.
Wout Weghorst, who came as a second-half substitute, scored both the goals for the Dutch.
Spanish referee, Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz added extra flavour to the crunch tie as he dished out 18 bookings, including a red card to the Dutch right-back Denzel Dumfries.
Argentina eventually won the match 4-3 on penalties.
Semi-Final (Argentina vs Croatia)
Argentina ended Croatia’s hopes of reaching the final for the second time in as many editions.
While the match finished 3-0, it took Argentina some time to break Croatia down.
However, Argentina were awarded a penalty after Alvarez was taken down inside the box by Croatia’s goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic.
Messi stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired his effort past Livakovic, giving Argentina a 1-0 lead.
Alvarez then scored twice to seal a comprehensive win, as well as a place in the final.
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