The World Cup Look Good For Lionel Messi..

Lionel Messi is doing all he can to help Argentina lift the 2022 FIFA world Cup. After eighty minutes of the quarterfinal against the Netherlands at the Lusail Stadium, the 35-year-old Messi made sure he drove his side into the Semifinals of the competition, and to sail through to the finals if feasible.

Messi had produced his best performance of this World Cup — and it was magical — to put Lionel Scaloni’s team 2-0 ahead and seemingly cruising into a semifinal against Croatia on Tuesday.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward created Nahuel Molina’s first-half opening goal with a pass of sublime quality before doubling Argentina’s lead from the penalty spot on 73 minutes against the Dutch.

The closing stages should have been on cruise control, but Wout Weghorst scored twice — an 83rd-minute header and then by finishing off one of the best and cleverest free kicks you are likely to see, 11 minutes into stoppage time, to draw the Dutch level.

The Netherlands’ free kick was the best set piece taken. And many fans can’t believe how they pulled off such an audacious free kick in the quarter final of a World Cup.

Lionel Messi and his side as the Copa America champions held their nerve to win the penalty shootout, with Messi scoring the first in a 4-3 win.

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It ended a bad-tempered game, with 11 Argentina bookings, two mass confrontations between both sets of players and some provocative, goading celebrations at the end by Argentina in front of their beaten opponents. But there is so much emotion and desperation in this Argentina team, maybe in Messi, so the ugly scenes in victory might just be understandable.

Prior to Messi’s game-changing contribution, the Dutch were threatening to suffocate this encounter with their passive, risk-averse football. Coach Louis van Gaal has bristled at criticism of his tactical approach from the Dutch media. But anyway, it had taken Argentina to the brink of a semifinal clash with Croatia (who earlier ousted Brazil on penalties in an equally memorable match).

Argentina needs the Messi factor and his ongoing pursuit of the achievement that would give him equal status with Diego Maradona in Argentine hearts.

Argentina needs thousands of fans to fill stadiums with their colour and noise, to chase a first World Cup.

Messi has at least given fans perhaps the defining on-field image of Qatar 2022 with his incredible pass to Molina. Of course, Messi’s legs no longer move as quickly as his brilliant mind does all the time.

You can see it at times when he shuffles away from an opponent with a swerve, rather than the burst of pace he once possessed at his absolute peak. But he has proven enough to the world in this tournament.

But Messi knows his limitations and he has changed his game to overcome them. A few years ago, as he entered shooting range of goal, he would put his foot on the gas and go for it, but on this occasion, he knew that he couldn’t get through a packed Dutch defence on his own.

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So he left midfielder Frenkie de Jong in his wake by running across the edge of the penalty area before spotting full-back Molina out of the corner of his eye and instantly released the defender with a reverse pass into the penalty area. Virgil van Dijk attempted to foul Molina just as he shot at goal, but the Liverpool defender couldn’t put the Argentina off his stride.

Messi cannot escape the shadow of Maradona, who won the World Cup almost single-handedly in 1986. But Messi’s pass was similar to that of his great predecessor against Brazil at the 1990 tournament, when Maradona held off a pack of defenders before playing a pinpoint pass for Claudio Caniggia, who scored to win the game. You can compare the two visionary passes.

But while Messi’s brilliance was on display with that pass, so were his determination and tenacity as Argentina toiled in extra-time and when he showed nerves of steel to take the first penalty in the shootout.

Despite not being the Messi the world knows, he showed class and leadership against the Dutch and dragged Argentina to glory. Now, Messi is keeping his and Argentina’s hopes alive. Perhaps, they might be the eventual World Cup winners.

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