Lionel Messi to Tie Record for Most Career World Cup Matches in 2022 Semifinal


Lionel Messi is two wins away from his first World Cup title, but he is already set to make history in the semifinals.

The 35-year-old will appear in his 25th career World Cup match when Argentina faces Croatia in Tuesday’s showdown, tying him with Germany’s Lothar Matthäus for the most ever by a male player.

Messi, who said he is playing in his final World Cup, will have a chance to set the tournament record for caps in Sunday’s final. First, he and the Albicelestes need to get past the reigning runner-up in the semis.

Here is a quick look at how Messi compares to the most-tenured players in World Cup history ahead of Tuesday’s match:

Which player has the most World Cup appearances in history?

Messi and Matthäus lead the pack when it comes to individual World Cup appearances. Here is what the all-time list looks like (including Messi’s start against Croatia):

T-1. Lionel Messi, Argentina: 25

T-1. Lothar Matthäus, Germany: 25

3. Miroslav Klose, Germany: 24

4. Paolo Maldini, Italy: 23

5. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: 22

T-6. Diego Maradona, Argentina: 21

T-6. Uwe Seeler, West Germany: 21

T-6. Władysław Żmuda, Poland: 21

T-9: Five players tied with 20

Lionel Messi’s career World Cup stats

Messi scored 10 goals in his first 24 World Cup matches, putting him in a tie for eighth in tournament history, to go along with five assists. He is already at four goals in Qatar and trails only France’s Kylian Mbappé (five) in the Golden Boot race.

He has a chance to move up the all-time leaderboard in Qatar, but first place is likely out of reach barring an other-worldly scoring run in the semifinals and final. Klose holds the record with 16 career World Cup goals.

Is Messi playing today?

Messi is indeed starting for Argentina against Croatia in Tuesday’s semifinal.

Here is a full look at Argentina’s starting 11:

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