Croatia are World Champions in winning penalty contests, but that did not help them today against Argentina, who got a thorough revenge for the 2018 loss to Croatia.
It was most certainly the best we have seen Argentina play in the tournament, and although the Croatian team had its moments dominating possession, they never really looked to threaten the Argentines who were concentrated, organised and fought with a spirit that perhaps is better only by Morocco in this World Cup.
And although they were all good, two Argentine players stood out: firstly, the young Julian Alvarez, who joined Manchester City in September, scored two goals and forced the penalty that Messi scored on. And secondly the veteran Lionel Messi, who not only scored on a penalty, but also made a perfect run around Josko Gvardiol to set up Alvarez for the third goal. It was the kind of Messi one saw when he was young, but he is also showing the qualities of a leader that Argentina needs and wants.
Argentina are World Champions in World Cup semifinals: this was their sixth (1930, 1978, 1986, 1990, 2014 and 2022), and they have won every single time, but still only two title to show for it. The way they played today, Argentina can beat anyone in the final. But they still display some weaknesses and nerves (the pressure is enormous on these players), meaning that they can also lose to anyone.
I hope to see them win their third title.
No matter what happens in the final, Argentina are World Champions football fans: the passion the fans have put into the matches is unique, and surely it will carry the team to try harder and harder.