Croatia took on the might of Argentina at Lusail Stadium this evening and found their path to a second successive World Cup Final blocked by Lionel Messi and company.

The Albicelesti's Talisman opened the scoring from the spot and then single-handedly created the third goal as Argentina comfortably despatched the Balkan Nation 3-0.

Julian Alvarez was the other star of the night, winning the spot-kick that gave Messi the platform to put the South Americans ahead in the 34th minute after the Manchester City forward had been felled by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Alvarez doubled the lead five minutes later as Argentina raced away on the counter-attack from a Croatia corner, the 22-year-old benefitting from two lucky bounces that allowed him to bundle his way into another one-on-one with the keeper before prodding it home.

With 21 minutes to go, Messi ensured that his dream of finally lifting the famous gold trophy remained alive when he wriggled his past Josko Gvardiol and cut the ball back for Alvarez to side-foot past the keeper.

Argentina will now face the winner of tomorrow's semi-final between Morrocco and holders, France.