News Matches
World Cup

'We'll beat him next time' - Croatia's Gvardiol reflects on getting toasted by Messi in World Cup semi-final

15:48 WAT 16/12/2022
Josko Gvardiol Croatia World Cup 2022
Josko Gvardiol says he will learn from the experience of playing against Lionel Messi after struggling to deal with him in the World Cup semi-finals.
  • Gvardiol schooled by Messi
  • Turned inside-out for third goal
  • Claims Messi is different for club and national team

WHAT HAPPENED? The Croatia defender was embarrassed by Messi as the Argentine forward turned him inside-out and somehow found a way past him to set up Julian Alvarez for the third goal during the World Cup semi-final between the two teams. However, the centre-back reckons he did fairly well against Messi for the 90 minutes and claimed that the forward is of a different breed when he is playing for his national team.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It was a nice experience even though I played against him in the club last season. He is a completely different type of player in the club and in the national team," he told reporters.

“I am glad that I played against him even though we lost. But today and tomorrow I will be able to tell the children that I guarded Messi for 90 minutes. I guess we will beat him next time," he added.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite being twisted in every direction by Messi, Gvardiol's stock continues to rise among the European elite. Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all reported to be interested in the RB Leipzig defender, who will not come cheap after signing an extension with the club in the summer.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Argentina sealed a berth in the final at the expense of Croatia and will now face France in the title decider on Sunday. Croatia face a third-place playoff against Morocco on Saturday.