Another record for Messi! Argentina star equals most World Cup appearances with start against Croatia in semi-final

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Messi - Final World Cup kit
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Lionel Messi's start against Croatia means he is now level with Lothar Matthaus for most male appearances at a World Cup.
  • Messi draws level with Lothar Matthaus
  • Makes 25th World Cup finals appearance
  • No male player has appeared more

WHAT HAPPENED? With a place in the World Cup final up for grabs, nothing was stopping Messi from leading Argentina out in their last four clash against Croatia in Qatar. And in doing so, he made an all-important 25th World Cup appearance that draws him level with 1990 winner Matthaus, and means no male player has turned out more times in the tournament's history.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: For the man who has everything in a footballing sense, the beautiful game's top prize is the one major honour that has eluded Messi throughout his superhuman career thus far. In what is likely to be his final World Cup, he has the chance to lift the trophy for the first time and become the male player with the most appearances at the tournament. He opened the scoring from the spot to put his side ahead, and mark the landmark appearance with a goal.

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? Should he and Argentina see off Croatia's advances in the semi-final, a mammoth tie with either France or Morocco would await them in the final.