Is this Lionel Messi's last World Cup? When did Argentina last win the FIFA World Cup?

Lionel Messi is set to make a record-equalling 25th appearance at a FIFA World Cup when Argentina face Croatia – but will the 2022 tournament in Qatar be his final one?

The 35-year-old Barcelona legend made his first appearance at a World Cup in 2006 as Argentina were knocked out in the quarter finals on penalties by hosts Germany. He was present at the tournaments in 2010, 2014 and 2018 as the event was staged in South Africa, Brazil and Russia.

Lothar Matthäus of Germany holds the record for most appearances at a men’s World Cup with 25, having played at five tournaments between 1982 and 1998. If Argentina make the final, Messi could make a record-breaking appearance in what could be his final World Cup fixture.

Is this Lionel Messi’s final World Cup?

Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi and Argentina's goalkeeper #23 Emiliano Martinez celebrate with the crowd after qualifying to the next round after defeating Netherlands in the penalty shoot-out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on December 9, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi and Argentina's goalkeeper #23 Emiliano Martinez celebrate with the crowd after qualifying to the next round after defeating Netherlands in the penalty shoot-out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on December 9, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina's forward #10 Lionel Messi and Argentina's goalkeeper #23 Emiliano Martinez celebrate with the crowd after qualifying to the next round after defeating Netherlands in the penalty shoot-out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium, north of Doha, on December 9, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Paris Saint-Germain player has not confirmed if this will be his final tournament. He turned 35 in June and his 39th birthday will be during the 2026 tournament in the United States, Canada and Mexico. As Messi prepares to make his 25th appearance at a World Cup, Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said of the footballing icon: “He’s always been a winner. He’s so eager, willing to keep playing football so we’re very happy about this.

“We’ll see whether he continues playing or not. We will keep enjoying him. That’s the most (important) thing we can do – that’s for us and the world of football. In case things turn out well, then everything will be good for us. We have our whole country supporting us. They’re backing us.

“But there’s still a long road to go. We need to play crucial matches. Tomorrow’s game will be a very tough one and we need to focus entirely on that.”

How many World Cup goals has Messi scored?

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi reacts during a training session at Qatar University in Doha on December 12, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi final football match between Argentina and Croatia. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)Argentina's forward Lionel Messi reacts during a training session at Qatar University in Doha on December 12, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi final football match between Argentina and Croatia. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi reacts during a training session at Qatar University in Doha on December 12, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi final football match between Argentina and Croatia. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)

Messi has 10 goals in 24 World Cup appearances. His first came in a 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro in the 2006 tournament but he failed to score in 2010 as Argentina were beaten 4-0 by Germany in the last eight.

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In 2014, Messi netted four times at the tournament in Brazil as Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany after extra time in the final. He was awarded the golden ball for his performances in South America.

The South Americans crashed out in the round of 16 in Russia as they lost a thrilling game 4-3 to eventual winners France. Messi scored one goal in a group stage win over Nigeria. In Qatar he has four goals, with three coming in the group stage and one in last week’s quarter final win over the Netherlands.

When did Argentina last win the World Cup?

Argentina have won the World Cup twice. Their first victory came in their home tournament in 1978. In Mexico eight years later they won it for a second time. They were runners-up four years later in Italy and again finished as runners-up in 2014.

Who is left in Qatar?

Argentina take on Croatia in the first semi-final on Tuesday before Morocco face reigning champions France on Wednesday. Argentina reached the semi-finals with a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands.

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Emiliano Martínez – who had loan spells in South Yorkshire with Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United between 2013 and 2015 – was the hero for the South Americans as they set up a clash with Croatia who beat Brazil via penalties in their quarter finals.

France advanced at the expense of England while Morocco stunned Portugal, in what could prove to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup.