LUSAIL (Qatar): Argentina star footballer Lionel Messi has confirmed the final on Sunday, December 18 to be his last FIFA World Cup game.
The talismanic forward will be kicking for World Cup glory for the final time at football's grandest stage against either France or Morocco and will look to draw curtains on his World Cup journey with the elusive trophy making its way to his already distinguished trophy cabinet.
"I feel very happy, to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final," Reuters quoted Messi as saying in a statement to Argentine media outlet Diario Deportivo Ole. Messi will play for redemption having reached the FIFA World Cup final in 2014 only to come second to Germany.
"It's many years for the next one and I don't think I'll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it's the best. It's all well and good (the records), but the important thing is to be able to achieve the group objective, which is the most beautiful thing of all. We're just one step away, after fighting hard, and we're going to give everything to try to make it happen this time," added Messi.
The 35-year-old is playing his fifth World Cup, surpassing the four of Diego Maradona and Javier Mascherano. The forward's goal in the 34th minute helped Argentina take the lead in the semifinal against Croatia on Tuesday. Julian Alvarez scored a brace to take Argentina into the final and knock out the 2018 World Cup runners-up.
Messi appeared in his 25th World Cup match, tying Lothar Matthaus of Germany for the most, and took his tally of goals at the World Cup to 11, breaking Gabriel Batistuta's Argentina record Argentina will play the winner of the second semifinal between France and Morocco on Sunday in the championship after Messi inspired Lionel Scaloni's team to a 3-0 victory against Croatia.
Messi has the chance to lead the South American team to a World Cup win to end a 36-year wait when they play in the final this weekend. Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986.
The second semifinal will take place on December 15 at the Al Bayt Stadium where defending champions France will take on a spirited Morocco who have made it to their maiden World Cup semifinal.