QATAR — Lionel Messi set a new record for the most Argentina goals scored at World Cups after netting his 11th in Tuesday’s semi-final against Croatia.
Messi went into the game level on 10 with Albiceleste great Gabriel Batistuta, having already netted four times en route to the semis.
His fifth of the campaign, drawing level with Kylian Mbappe in the Golden Boot race, came from the penalty spot at Lusail Stadium.
Messi scored the opening goal of the game against Croatia 11 minutes before half-time, blasting into the top-right corner after Julian Alvarez was fouled by Dominik Livakovic.
Batistuta only needed 12 games to reach his tally, while Messi was making his 25th World Cup appearance on Tuesday – that saw him equal Lothar Matthaus’ all-time record for most outings at the tournament.
Nevertheless, Messi’s strike highlights the Paris Saint-Germain star’s remarkable longevity.
Qatar 2022 is the fifth World Cup Messi has played in, a feat no one has ever bettered.
His first World Cup goal came in 2006 against Serbia and Montenegro. At 18 years and 357 days, it made him Argentina’s youngest ever scorer in the competition.
He would need to play again in the 2026 World Cup – during which he will turn 39 – to become Argentina’s oldest scorer at the tournament, however, with Martin Palermo (36 years, 227 days) holding that particular record.
The 2022 World Cup is widely expected to be Messi’s last.