Football NewsLionel Messi Sets New World Cup Records and Equals Diego Maradona’s Mark
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During Argentina’s semi-final victory over Croatia, Lionel Messi became the first player in history to score and assist in four different World Cup matches.

Even before his first touch, the 35-year-old had equaled Lothar Matthaus’s World Cup record of 25 appearances – a mark he is now certain to break in the final on Sunday, barring injury.

Messi then opened the scoring for Argentina with an unstoppable penalty into the top corner. The goal that saw him become the country’s all-time leading goalscorer at World Cups, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s total of 11 goals.

More records were to come for the Paris Saint-Germain man. However, as he performed a moment of magic to assist Argentina’s third goal of the night, turning Josko Gvardiol inside out before laying the ball off for Julian Alvarez to score his second of the night.

Messi became the first player since records began in 1966 to score and assist in four different World Cup games, three of which have now come at this winter’s tournament in Qatar.

With the assist, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner matched his compatriot Diego Maradona’s all-time World Cup record of eight assists.

Furthermore, Messi has now been involved in 19 World Cup goals, scoring 11 and creating eight more, equaling the record shared by Miroslav Klose, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gerd Muller since records began in 1966.

His man-of-the-match performance propelled Argentina to their second World Cup final, where they will face either France or Morocco on Sunday.

Argentina’s victory on extended their record of never being eliminated from the World Cup in the semi-finals, as they have now advanced to the final on six of the six occasions they have gone this far in a World Cup.

They have only won the World Cup twice, in 1978 and 1986, and will be hoping to bring the trophy home after failing to do so on their last three trips to the final, the fifth and most recent of which was in 2014, when they lost to Germany.