Men's Team

Julian Alvarez’s World Cup 2022 story

Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez has helped Argentina to football's most coveted prize.

The young forward helped his home nation to a third World Cup victory courtesy of a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout victory over France in Lusail.

He had earned just 13 senior caps for his country ahead of flying out to Qatar, finding the net three times in the process.

But four strikes in six appearances from the 22-year-old has seen him more than double his scoring tally for La Albiceleste, while also playing a starring role in the Argentines’ march to a first World Cup triumph since 1986.

From a shock opening defeat through to a mesmeric semi-final display, this is Alvarez’s World Cup story.

Argentina entered the 2022 World Cup as one of the pre-tournament favourites, but their pursuit of football’s most coveted prize couldn’t have got off to a worse start.

Indeed, while Morocco’s march past European heavyweights Belgium, Spain and Portugal en route to the semi-finals certainly raised eyebrows, the South Americans’ defeat to Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, was perhaps the true David and Goliath story from the tournament.

Alvarez had to watch on from the bench as two goals in five second half minutes turned the opening Group C match on its head, before having a late effort cleared off the line after being introduced on the hour.

While the shock defeat wasn’t tournament defining, Lionel Scaloni’s side couldn’t afford another slip-up when they locked horns with Mexico in their second encounter.


The City forward would once again come on as a substitute in a tightly-fought contest with the Argentines in need of that all-important spark.

It had the desired effect, with the youngster’s typically energetic performance helping to kickstart the two-time champions’ campaign as goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez sealed a 2-0 victory.

Alvarez’s impact saw him rewarded with a first start in Qatar when La Albiceleste faced Poland in their final Group C clash.

Argentina needed to win to guarantee their spot in the knockout stages and, a Wojciech Szczesny penalty aside, they were full value for the three points.

Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister swept home the game’s opener just 60 seconds after the restart, but it was Alvarez who would put the game to bed in style later in the half.

Picking up play from Fernandez, the forward cleverly manoeuvred the ball onto his favoured right foot inside the area before emphatically finding the top corner.

Despite it being just the fourth time that he’d found the net for his country, Alvarez’s first World Cup strike was dispatched with the ruthlessness of a seasoned veteran.

Goal number five in blue and white stripes would follow in the next game and, while it wouldn’t have the style and panache of his strike against Poland, it was the product on one of the 22-year-old’s greatest assets – his work rate.


An effective press on Mat Ryan alongside Atletico Madrid’s Rodrigo De Paul forced the Australian goalkeeper into taking a risk in possession in their last 16 encounter.

The trap had been sprung, and Alvarez duly gobbled up the opportunity, dispossessing the stopper and tapping home into an empty net.

It doubled both his personal tally for the tournament as well as the Argentines’ advantage over the Socceroos, with Messi having found the net in his 1000th game earlier on.

A date with the Netherlands, the side who they had beaten to reach the 2014 final, beckoned in the last eight.

But it was a relatively quiet display from Alvarez on this occasion, whose tireless movement wasn’t rewarded with a clear sight of goal.

With Argentina two goals to the good and progress looking all but sealed, the striker was substituted on 82 minutes in order to rest up ahead of the last four.

An incredible late brace from Wout Weghorst turned the game on its head, but Lionel Scaloni’s side would hold their nerve in the shootout to progress into a semi-final tie with Croatia.

World Cup runners up from 2018, Zlatko Dalic’s side had ground out penalty shootout victories over Japan and pre-tournament favourites Brazil to reach the last four.

Nonetheless, with a relatively similar core to four years prior, Argentina’s semi-final opponents combined a potent blend of gritty tournament experience and technical quality – epitomised by their figurehead, veteran Real Madrid midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric.

Any fears that Alvarez and co.’s World Cup journey would come to an end at this stage, however, were quickly dispelled by a blistering attacking display from La Albiceleste.

And City’s number 19 was at the centre of it, winning a penalty just after the half hour having been brought down by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Messi duly stepped up to do the honours from 12 yards, but Alvarez would double the advantage soon after with an impressive solo effort.

Picking up play inside his own half on the counter, the forward fell on the right side of fortune to reclaim possession from Josip Juranovic’s attempted clearance before deftly tapping the ball past Livakovic from close-range.

Argentina’s two leading lights would combine once again after the break, with Alvarez slotting home Messi’s cutback after another fine solo run down the right to cap off a mesmeric display.


It was a performance which justified the South Americans’ billing as one of the favourites heading into Qatar 2022, and one that they continued in the early stages of the final against France.

Argentina were the dominant force in Lusail for the opening 80 minutes, storming into a two-goal lead through strikes from Messi and Angel Di Maria, the latter of which had Alvarez in the thick of the build-up play.

But a quickfire brace from Kylian Mbappe would force extra time, with France's talisman once again on hand to complete his hat-trick from the spot and cancel our Messi's close-range strike at the death.

The two sides would have to be separated by a penalty shootout and, with Emiliano Martinez denying Kinglsey Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni from 12 yards, Alvarez and co. could finally celebrate coming out in a captivating encounter.

Congratulations to Julian on becoming a World Cup winner!