How many World Cup finals has Lionel Messi played in? Has he ever won the tournament?

Argentina have booked their place in the 2022 World Cup final after beating Croatia 3-0 in their semi-final on Tuesday night.

Lionel Messi scored his fifth goal of the 2022 tournament in the win over Croatia, becoming Argentina’s all-time World Cup top goalscorer. His 34th minute penalty and a magnificent assist for Julián Álvarez helped guide his side to the final on Sunday.

In the group stage opener against Saudi Arabia, the PSG forward was on target from the spot, before scoring from 25 yards out against Mexico. The man from Rosario broke his knockout stage duck by finding the net against Australia in the last 16 and scored against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

World Cup debut

He made his World Cup debut in 2006, on 16 June against Serbia and Montenegro. The South American side won the match 6-0 with Messi scoring on his World Cup debut. The 18-year-old, at that time, came on as a substitute and got on the score sheet by finding the back of the net with his team’s sixth goal.

In 2010 in South Africa, he failed to score a single goal. Just four years later, in 2014, Messi and Argentina reached the final. Germany got in the way that time. Mario Gotze scored the winner for the Germans in extra time. It was heartbreak for Messi and his nation.

Things went from bad to worse in 2018. Their World Cup dreams were short-lived as they got eliminated in the round of 16 having been defeated by France. Les Bleus, inpsired by Kylian Mbappé, who scored twice, won 4-3.

Top World Cup appearance holder

Against Croatia on Tuesday, Messi became the player with the most appearances in World Cup history, equalling Germany legend Lothar Matthäus with 25 matches. His current tally stands at 11 goals from five World Cups and he will be hoping to go one better in the 2022 World Cup final.

Messi’s time?

The Argentinian has played in five World Cups but has never won the tournament. He will have a chance to change that on Sunday when he plays in his second World Cup final against the winner of France and Morocco. It will be Argentina’s sixth ever World Cup final and maybe, just maybe, it will be Messi’s time.

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