Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi says he knew that Argentina could hurt Croatia on the counter-attack in their World Cup semi-final clash.
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The South American side raced into their sixth showpiece final with a 3-0 win, which included a penalty from Messi and a brace from Manchester City star Julian Alvarez.
Messi, who was awarded man of the match, said: “This is a very wise squad. We know what to do in every second of the game. We knew the Croatians would have the ball possession but we knew this could be our strength.
“Sometimes they are disordered when they lose the ball and they left many spaces.”
On what the victory means, he added: “To see these people, the family thought the World Cup was something incredible.
“And we are where we wanted to be. We started off losing but we asked the people to stay confident with us because we knew. “This group is crazy, we did it. It makes me think of my family.
“It’s the best for me. We had tough times but we got the chance to experience something spectacular tonight.”
Argentina have recovered from losing their opening match to Saudi Arabia to reach the final of the competition, and Messi says the defeat taught them a lesson.
“I would say the first match was a hard blow for all of us after being unbeaten for 26 matches,” he said.
“We didn’t think we would lose against Saudi Arabia so to start that way was an acid test for our squad but we have proved how strong we are.
“It has been very difficult because every game has been a final for us – there has been a mental load. But we’ve played five finals and luckily won them all. I hope we can win the sixth one.”