‘We’re an intelligent squad, we know how to read the game’: Messi praises Argentina’s intelligence after Croatia win | Football News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: After taking his team to the World Cup final with a mesmerising performance in Qatar, captain Lionel Messi praised Argentina‘s intelligence on Wednesday.
The two-time champions swept past Croatia 3-0 in their semi-final match at Lusail Stadium, riding on Julian Alvarez two goals and Messi’s one from the penalty spot. It was a contrasting win for Argentina, after showing more guts than flair to beat the Netherlands on penalties in the quarter-finals.
“We’re an intelligent squad, we know how to read the game, we know how to suffer when necessary, when to press. Every detail counts in every match,” Messi said in a news conference after the semi-final win.

“We knew that sometimes they were not really tidy and would leave space behind. I am enjoying this a lot. I am feeling really good, strong enough to face every match,” Messi, who drew level with France’s Kylian Mbappe as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, said.
Messi made the most of available spaces to set up Alvarez for the third goal after a superb run to the byline that capped a remarkable performance.
“In the previous match (against the Netherlands), extra time wasn’t easy. Today we were tired, but we pulled ourselves up to earn this victory. We played very well, we prepared to play this way because we knew we wouldn’t have the ball and would need to run in this match. So we prepared for this match in a very good way. As we always do,” added Messi.


Messi and Alvarez fire Argentina past Croatia into World Cup final

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Argentina are looking for their third World Cup title, and first since 1986, with a rejuvenated Messi spearheading their pursuit.
“Personally I’m very happy, I’m enjoying it a lot and I’m happy that I’m able to help my squad make things happen. The first match was a hard blow. For us to start this way was hard, we didn’t think we would lose against Saudi Arabia, it was a test but we proved how strong we are,” said Messi, whose side started their campaign with a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.
“It was very difficult because every match was a final for us. We were aware that if we didn’t win it would be more complicated,” Messi said.
Argentina will face either France or Morocco in the final on Sunday.
(With inputs from agencies)

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