Lionel Messi praised Argentina's intelligence after it swept aside Croatia with a no-nonsense 3-0 win to reach the World Cup final on Tuesday, having shown more guts than flair to beat the Netherlands in the previous round.

Messi converted a first-half penalty before Julian Alvarez scored either side of the interval to see off an overwhelmed Croatia, which had little left in the tank after progressing through the two previous rounds on penalties.

"We're an intelligent squad, we know how to read the game we know how to suffer when necessary, when to press. Every detail counts in every match," Messi, on a mission to win his first World Cup, told a news conference.