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03:06 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Argentina is through to the World Cup final after dominating Croatia with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday in Qatar. Superstar Lionel Messi dazzled with a goal and assist.
  • Tomorrow: France will play Morocco, the Cinderella team of the tournament, in the second semifinal match.
  • In photos: Check out the best pictures from Qatar 2022 here.

Our live coverage for the day has ended. Follow the latest World Cup news here or read through the updates below. 

18 Posts

Messi asks Argentina fans to trust the team ahead of World Cup final

Argentina’s Lionel Messi was brilliant on Tuesday in Qatar — scoring and assisting in the 3-0 victory over Croatia in the World Cup semifinal. 

Directly after the victory, Messi said, “It’s very exciting to see all of this. As we said at the beginning, seeing these people, the family throughout the World Cup, it is something incredible to experience. And well, we are going for the last game, which is what we wanted.”

He continued:

“We have been enjoying a lot since we arrived at this World Cup, even though we had a losing start. We were confident in this group, we are going to move forward.
“We ask people to trust because we know what we are. This group is crazy and well, we did it. We are going to play one more final. Once again, Argentina is in a World Cup final and well, let’s enjoy all this.”

Argentina's dynamic duo of Messi and Álvarez prove too much firepower for Croatia in World Cup semis

Julián Álvarez of Argentina celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring their second goal against Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.

Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in a dominating performance to secure the first spot in Sunday’s World Cup final.

The two Argentinian forwards — Julián Álvarez and Lionel Messi — were the difference makers for the sky blue in tonight’s match, playing an integral role in all three goals.

First, in the 34th minute, Álvarez was taken down inside the 18-yard box by goaltender Dominik Livaković. The ref whistled Livaković for a yellow card and awarded Argentina a penalty.

Julián Álvarez, left, and Lionel Messi celebrate Argentina's third goal against Croatia at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.

Unsurprisingly, it was Messi, playing in his fifth World Cup, who stepped up to the spot. The Argentina captain blasted it with his left foot into the top right corner to give his side the 1-0 lead.

It was Messi’s 11th FIFA World Cup goal and he now owns his country’s record for the most scored in the tournament. With five goals scored in Qatar, Messi is also now a co-leader for the Golden Boot Award given to the tournament’s leading scorer.

Five minutes later, Álvarez pulled off an incredible individual effort to net one of the goals of the tournament.

Julián Álvarez and Lionel Messi celebrate after Álvarez scored Argentina's second goal Tuesday.

After racing forward from the opposing end with the ball, he forced his way through the Croatian defense. His initial shot appeared to be blocked but Álvarez managed to get on the end of the rebound and will the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0 going into halftime.

In the second half, Argentina searched for that third goal to put away Croatia. And it was Álvarez and Messi who delivered again.

In the 70th minute, Messi refused to relinquish possession, dribbling all the way to the opposition’s byline. He found Álvarez inside the box and the 22-year-old converted his second goal of the game and his fourth of the tournament.

Julián Álvarez and Lionel Messi celebrate after Álvarez scored to make the score 3-0 at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

With his appearance against Croatia, Messi joined German Lothar Matthäus as the joint record appearance-maker in FIFA men’s World Cup history with 25 matches played.

Argentina will now face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal match between Morocco and France.

The final will be played at Lusail Stadium, the same venue Argentina defeated Croatia on Tuesday. The attendance at Tuesday’s semifinal was announced as 88,966 - full capacity.

CNN’s David Close contributed reporting

A third goal for Argentina!

Julián Álvarez celebrates scoring Argentina's third goal with teammates at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

Argentina is now leading 3-0 against Croatia, thanks to a second goal by Julián Álvarez that followed a terrific assist from superstar Lionel Messi in the 70th minute.

Second half underway with Argentina defending a 2-goal lead

The second half has kicked off with Argentina defending a 2-0 lead in the World Cup semifinal.

The Croatians will need to score quickly to have any chance of staying in contention against an Argentine side that will be feeling confident with a 2-goal cushion.

Argentina has won the tournament twice. Croatia has never won.

US Soccer and FIFA to host memorial service for Grant Wahl on Wednesday

Before the England and France match, a photo of Grant Wahl is shown at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on Saturday.

US Soccer and FIFA are hosting a memorial service for American journalist Grant Wahl on Dec. 21 in New York City, according to a Tuesday news release from Wahl’s family.

A time and location for the memorial will be announced at a later time, the release said. 

Wahl’s wife Celine Gounder is asking that donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Ida B. Wells Society or the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Wahl, 49, died Friday after he collapsed while covering a match between Argentina and the Netherlands at the World Cup in Qatar.

Wahl’s body has been returned to the US and an autopsy is being performed, his manager told CNN.

Argentina leads Croatia 2-0 at the half

Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, and Julián Álvarez celebrate Álvarez's goal at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

Argentina leads Croatia 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from both forwards: Lionel Messi and Julián Álvarez.

In the 34th minute, Álvarez made a sensational run to get in behind Croatia’s backline. He received a lofted pass and had an open look at the net but was taken out by Croatian goaltender Dominik Livaković as he tried to chip it up and into the goal.

The referee awarded a penalty and who else, but Messi stepped up to the spot. The Argentina captain blasted it with his left foot into the top right corner to give his side the 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, Alvarez pulled off an incredible individual effort, racing forward from the opposing end with the ball.

Alvarez forced his way through the Croatian defense and after having his initial shot blocked, managed to will the rebound into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Argentine 2-0 Croatia

Argentina scores a second goal!

Croatia's Joško Gvardiol reacts after Argentina's Julián Álvarez scored Argentina's second goal at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

Julián Álvarez made it 2-0 in the 39th minute after he darted from a midfield position, eluded three tackles, and scored a great individual effort to extend Argentina’s lead.

Argentina 2-0 Croatia

Argentina gets a penalty kick and it's a goal!

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal against Croatia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi has given Argentina a 1-0 lead against Croatia with a successful penalty kick in the 34th minute.

The penalty was awarded after goalkeeper Dominik Livaković fouled Argentina’s Julián Álvarez as he raced into the box.

Argentina 1-0 Croatia

Croatian fans gather in Zagreb to watch match

Croatian fans watching the match between Croatia and Argentina on Tuesday.

Croatian fans are watching the match live in Zagreb, the country’s capital as they hope for a historic win against Argentina to make it through to the World Cup final.

Messi's semifinal appearance ties record for most in the World Cup matches

Argentina’s Lionel Messi has tied former West Germany captain Lothar Matthäus for the most appearances in FIFA World Cup matches.

He has played in 25 World Cup games, according to FIFA.

Messi will own the record outright if he makes an appearance in the final or the third-place play-off.

Argentina and Croatia kick off in the World Cup semifinals

Argentina and Croatia are underway in our first World Cup 2022 semifinal match.

Will it be Lionel Messi and the sky blue from Argentina or Luka Modrić and the checkered ones from Croatia who book the first spot in the finals? Let’s go!

Here are the starting lineups for Argentina and Croatia

A general view of the warm up prior to the match between Argentina and Croatia at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar on Tuesday.

The semifinals begin: Argentina will fight Croatia to advance to the finals and get a chance to reclaim the World Cup trophy.

Here are the team squads that will kickoff the match.


Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martínez

Defenders: Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Nicolás Tagliafico

Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernández

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Julián Álvarez



Goalkeeper: Dominik Livaković

Defenders: Dejan Lovren, Josip Juranović, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovacić, Marcelo Brozović

Forwards: Ivan Perisić, Andrej Kramarić, Mario Pasalić

A superyacht hosts the super rich at Qatar 2022

Luxury yachts are moored in front of "The Pearl" in Doha, Qatar on November 28.

It’s been dubbed the “Arabian Riviera,” where the streets are immaculate and are interspersed with luxury hotels offering shimmering views across the marina. Welcome to “The Pearl.”

Work on this artificial island – now one of Doha’s most exclusive areas – started in 2004 and was named after the traditional practice of pearl diving which was a dominant industry in the area before the discovery of oil.

People dressed in designer clothing walk their chi-chi dogs along the promenade while others relax on man-made beaches which sit near a harbor resplendent with shining yachts.

Many of the boats have a permanent mooring in the area but some have arrived to provide luxurious accommodation to soccer fans looking for the ultimate World Cup experience

The Saluzi, notable for the striking graffiti style design adorning its side, is one such superyacht.

It arrived in Doha on Nov. 24 and its army of 35 staff was busy getting ready for their first, confidential, booking of the tournament as CNN was invited on board for a tour.

A stay on the Saluzi costs nearly $500,000 per week and as soon as you step on board, you are enveloped by luxury.

Guests are invited to swap their shoes for white fluffy slippers and are greeted with a drink by the immaculately dressed staff who are on hand to tend to clients and ensure they’re happy.

From jacuzzis to self-playing pianos, this is a floating space with three floors to sleep, play and work across.

Many of the outdoor areas have hot tubs and guests can even play golf at the back of the boat – there is a pitching green for keen golfers, which comes complete with decomposing balls that turn into fish food when they hit the water.

Read more here

Royal Air Maroc offers nearly 30 flights for Moroccan fans heading to historic World Cup semifinal

Morocco’s national airline Royal Air Maroc is offering nearly 30 flights to Doha ahead of country’s historic World Cup seminal match against France, state-run news agency MAP reported Monday.

“To allow the many Moroccans wishing to support the national selection in its epic and live the emotion of the semi-final of the World Cup scheduled for December 14, 2022, Royal Air Maroc has set up a real air bridge between Casablanca and Doha,” the airline said in a statement, the news agency reported.

The national airline will offer nearly 30 flights operated by large-capacity aircraft.

“We are proud to support this exceptional adventure of the Atlas Lions to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” Royal Air Maroc CEO Abdelhamid Addou said, according to MAP.

Morocco is the first African and first Arab country to reach the World Cup semifinals.

CNN has reached out to Royal Air Maroc for comment.

Remembering Grant Wahl, a charming, kind and talented journalist

Flowers and a picture of journalist Grant Wahl are seen during the Quarterfinal match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on Saturday.

It was 5 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep; my mind was replaying the extraordinary drama of Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands, over and over again.

And then I checked my phone. I thought I was going to throw up.

The American soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who’d also been covering the game at Lusail Stadium, had died.

At first, social media was full of concerned rumors, but then came the horrifying confirmation. It all seemed so sudden, and too bizarre, to be true.

Grant had been tweeting about the match, he’d posted about the improbable stoppage-time Dutch equalizer which took the match into extra time. But then, as more than 80,000 fans were absorbed by the drama on the field, Grant was fighting for his life. As we now know, frantic efforts to revive him were tragically unsuccessful.

If my own personal experience is anything to go by, for many of the journalists covering the World Cup in Qatar, the hours since then have been a surreal and nauseating blur.

I can’t remember the first time that I met Grant. It might have been in New York for Jurgen Klinsmann’s appointment as the US soccer team’s head coach in 2011, or maybe we’d never actually met in person until this World Cup in Qatar.

But such is the nature of our business that we have circled each other’s orbits and interacted so often over social media and through our televised interviews that we became friends.

Read more here

Human rights groups accuse FIFA of "misleading" world on migrant worker abuses

Human rights groups said FIFA misled the world on Qatar World Cup migrant worker abuses in a statement released on Monday.

The group — comprising of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, FairSquare, and Equidem — said that “FIFA is still failing to [fufill] its human rights responsibilities by refusing to compensate migrant workers and their families while preparing and delivering the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.”

On the eve of the World Cup, FIFA announced a Legacy Fund to “benefit people most in need,” but it has no provision for worker compensation, the human rights groups said.

They argue that FIFA President Gianni Infantino made “misleading comments that workers can simply access compensation through an existing mechanism in Qatar, when this mechanism is in fact not set up to provide compensation on any meaningful scale related to deaths, injuries, and historic wage theft.”

Human Rights Watch’s acting Executive Director Tirana Hassan said, “FIFA’s egregious whitewashing of serious abuses against migrant workers in Qatar is both a global embarrassment and a sinister tactic to escape its human rights responsibility to compensate thousands of workers who faced abuse and the families of those who died to make this World Cup possible.”

“FIFA continues to cash in on billions of dollars in revenue but refuses to offer a single cent for the families of migrant workers who died or those workers who were cheated out of their wages,” Hassan added.

The Qatar Labor Ministry has a Workers Support and Insurance Fund that began operating in 2020, but the human rights coalition contended that “the fund is not currently set up to be able to provide compensation on any meaningful scale.”

“Qatari authorities have also failed to provide disaggregated details about the announced $350 million reimbursed to migrant workers for wage theft, despite repeated requests by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International,” they said.

With the World Cup entering its final, the group is calling on FIFA to use the fund for compensation to the families of workers who have died.

FIFA, World Cup organizers and the Qatari government have not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

What FIFA has said: Previously, FIFA President Gianni Infantino had told CNN “more needs to be done” regarding labour reforms, but said progress had been made in the country.

“I’ve seen the great evolution that has happened in Qatar, which was recognized – I mean not by FIFA – but by labor unions around the world, by international organizations,” said Infantino in an interview last year.

What Qatar has said: Meanwhile, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) told CNN in November it had established what it claims is a “first-of-its-kind” Workers’ Welfare Forum, which it said allowed workers to elect a representative on their behalf and, when companies failed to comply with the WWF, it steps in and alerts the authorities.

Since 2016, the SC said 69 contractors had been demobilized, 235 contractors placed on a watch list and a further seven blacklisted. “We understand there is always room for improvement,” the statement added.

A Qatar government official also told CNN last month that work remained to be done but that “systemic reform does not happen overnight, and shifting the behavior of every company takes time as is the case with any country around the world.”

“Over the last decade, Qatar has done more than any other country in the region to strengthen the rights of foreign workers, and we will continue to work in close consultation with international partners to strengthen reforms and enforcement,” the official said.

CNN’s Aimee Lewis, Pramod Acharya and Sugam Pokharel contributed reporting to this post.

Second journalist dies during Qatar World Cup 

A second journalist has died while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a tweet from Qatari outlet AlKass on Saturday

Photojournalist Khaled Saif Salem al-Misslam was working for the Qatari channel when he passed away over the weekend, with The Gulf Times reporting that he died suddenly while covering the tournament.

“We’re praying to the God Almighty to provide him with the vastness of His mercy and allow him in his spacious gardens and to provide his family and relatives with patience and solace,” AlKass tweeted. 

The circumstances around al-Misslam’s death are unclear. AlKass has not released any further information and has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

FIFA and the Qatari government have not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Khaled Saif Salem al-Misslam’s death comes after American journalist Grant Wahl died Friday after he collapsed while covering a match between Argentina and the Netherlands.

CNN’s Mostafa Salem contributed to this report 

Qatar's World Cup chief says 400 to 500 migrant workers died in projects connected to the tournament

Workers walk between safety barricades at Al-Wakrah Stadium that is under construction for the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar on May 4, 2015.

World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi said that between 400 and 500 migrant workers have died as a result of work done on projects connected to the tournament – a greater figure than Qatari officials have cited previously.

In an interview with Piers Morgan which aired on TalkTV on Monday, Al-Thawadi was asked about the number of fatalities among migrant workers as a result of the work to prepare Qatar for the tournament.

Al-Thawadi said three had died in incidents directly connected with the construction of the stadiums, and 37 deaths were attributed to other reasons.

Pressed by Morgan about the number of deaths among migrant workers in the wider efforts to get Qatar ready for the World Cup, he said:

“The estimate is around 400, between 400 and 500. I don’t have the exact number, that’s something that’s been discussed. One death is too many, it’s as simple as that.”

Al-Thawadi added: “I think every year the health and safety standards on the sites are improving, at least on our sites, the World Cup sites, the ones that we’re responsible for, most definitely.”

A spokesperson for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy on Tuesday confirmed that there had been three work-related deaths during the construction of World Cup stadiums and 37 non-work-related deaths.

“Separate quotes regarding figures refer to national statistics covering the period of 2014-2020 for all work-related fatalities (414) nationwide in Qatar, covering all sectors and nationalities,” the spokesperson added in a statement

CNN asked the committee to explain the apparent discrepancy between Al-Thawadi’s reference to migrant workers and its statement’s reference to “all nationalities” but it did not provide a response.

Read more here


England players adopt stray Qatar cat after World Cup exit
11 World Cup greats — as you’ve never seen them before
Qatar makes World Cup debut in a controversial tournament of firsts
Cristiano Ronaldo speaks for first time since shock World Cup exit


England players adopt stray Qatar cat after World Cup exit
11 World Cup greats — as you’ve never seen them before
Qatar makes World Cup debut in a controversial tournament of firsts
Cristiano Ronaldo speaks for first time since shock World Cup exit