Why Argentina is already playing like a world champion


KIt was probably lucky that the ball bounced back onto the shin. Perhaps it was luck as the ball bounced back into his thigh and chest. It is possible that this, perhaps the most important goal of his life, appeared due to success. But one thing cannot be: Julián Álvarez, the striker Argentinadidn’t bother to track that fortune before and after, step by step through Lusail Stadium, until fortune had no choice but to make a pact with him.

It was on that evening that Argentina and Croatia Almost 39 minutes into the World Cup semi-final, Argentina’s number 9 Álvarez threw the ball into the penalty area.

He defeated his first opponent as the ball bounced into his shins. He beat his second opponent when the ball bounced off his thigh and chest. He then beat the keeper as all he had to do was send the ball past him with his full foot.

And so a free-kick (35 min) and a shin-thigh-to-chest-to-the-finish goal (39 min) suddenly decided a game that was yet to be decided.

Happiness?

No, it certainly wasn’t a lucky win with 88,966 watching at Lusail Stadium. It was a victory for Argentina.

Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 on Tuesday to become the first team to reach the final of the tournament. Strike in the 35th minute Lionel Messi the first goal. Julián Álvarez scored the second and third in the 39th and 69th minutes. And almost every second minute you could see why this team – both France and Morocco – met this Wednesday (20:00 CET, FAZ World Cup live streamingZDF and MagentaTV) can fight for another place in the final.

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Now it must be noted that even for the great Argentina, beating these Croats is no longer a matter of course. In 2018, you already achieved what was then presented as a sensation: you played France in the final.

Now that Luka Modrić, their wily player, is 37 years old, they are back in the final four. What makes this team special without Modric? “We fought hard to win our independence as a nation,” says Modric. “We will continue to fight to the last drop.” Whether this is true or not, they have the will.

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