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Messi equals Matthaus’ record for World Cup appearances

Lionel Messi will match Lothar Matthaus’ World Cup record of 25 appearances after the Argentina captain starts in the semi-final game against Croatia.

Messi, whose six goal involvements in Qatar have only been bettered by France’s Kylian Mbappe (seven), will hope to lead Argentina into the final by overcoming the 2018 runners-up at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old is Argentina’s joint-highest goalscorer in the competition with 10 goals and is one assist away from equalling Diego Maradona’s record of eight at World Cup tournaments (since 1966).

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He has both scored and assisted a goal in three different World Cup matches, including two at this tournament (vs Mexico and the Netherlands). Since 1966, no player has ever done so in four separate games.

Scaloni makes two changes for Argentina

Coach Lionel Scaloni made two changes to the team that featured from the off against the Netherlands.

With Marcos Acuna suspended, Nicolas Tagliafico was selected at left-back, while Leandro Paredes came into the midfield with defender Lisandro Martinez dropping out.

This is the third World Cup meeting between Argentina and Croatia, and the first in the knockout stages.

Argentina won 1-0 in 1998, before Croatia’s 3-0 win in the 2018 edition in Russia.

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