Croatia has knocked off another South American powerhouse in the quarterfinals. They will face Argentina in the semifinals on Tuesday at Lusail Iconic Stadium. Also, they are hoping to become the second team in World Cup history to win back-to-back championships.
Zlatko Dalic’s men eliminated Brazil from the quarterfinals on penalties, while La Albiceleste dispatched the Netherlands from the penalty spot a few hours later.
Argentina vs Croatia World Cup Semi-Final Match Preview
Argentina’s quarterfinal versus the Netherlands showed the 2022 World Cup’s turbulence, feistiness, and unpredictability. Weghorst’s late brace, including a 100th-minute equalizer, forced the unlikeliest extra-time periods for Lionel Messi-inspired Albiceleste.
Argentina advanced to the semifinals after a brawl and 17 yellow cards. Lionel Scaloni’s Copa America champions’ World Cup semifinal record is remarkable. The 2014 World Cup final was between Germany and Argentina, and Argentina was defeated.
Scaloni’s daring goalscorers enter the semifinals, scoring twice in each of their last four matches in all competitions, scoring in each of their last 14 in total. Still, Croatia’s solid defence will challenge Messi and co.
After repeatedly stopping Brazil before the Checkered Ones’ penchant for penalties, Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic will surely ask for his statue when he returns to Croatia. Neymar’s 106th-minute goal broke the deadlock, but Bruno Petkovic’s 117th-minute deflection shot prompted a 12-yard battle.
Livakovic kept Brazil out 11 times before saving from Rodrygo in the shootout. The Selecao dream was dashed when Marquinhos’s shot hit the post, sending the red and white into joy as they celebrated a second straight World Cup semifinal.
Dalic’s squad reached the 2018 World Cup final without winning any knockout games in regulation time. Only Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany have reached consecutive finals, but Dalic’s squad has never failed to score in 10 World Cup elimination matches.
Argentina won 1-0 in 1998, and Croatia won 3-0 in Russia four years later in the World Cup group stage. Several players from that team remain to try to repeat lightning in Lusail.
Argentina vs Croatia World Cup Semi-Final Team News
With two of his 17 bookings coming to Albiceleste full-backs Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna, the referee will not be making friends with the Argentina or Netherlands camps any time soon.
Scaloni was relieved to see no players get hurt in the 120-minute quarterfinal since Montiel was not a serious contender to unseat Molina at right back. Acuna will hand over left-back duties to Nicolas Tagliafico when he takes his position on the naughty step.
Alejandro Gomez aspires to play in the semifinal, provided he can recover from an ankle problem. At the same time, Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria, who has been dealing with their injuries, are hopeful that they will be well enough to play.
Scaloni decided to play a five-man defence to mirror the Netherlands’ formation, recalling Lisandro Martinez from the bench. However, if he switches to a four-man defence, the Manchester United player may lose his starting spot to the healthy Di Maria.
Croatia advanced to the semifinals with a victory against hosts Brazil. Now that Borna Sosa and Mislav Orsic have recovered from their respective sicknesses, head coach Zlatko Dalic should have his full complement of players available for Tuesday’s match.
Dalic started Mario Pasalic from the opening whistle against Brazil, despite his team’s well-documented goal-scoring woes, and the Atalanta BC player seems comfortable with his right flank position.
While Andrej Kramaric may have second thoughts about starting following Petkovic’s spectacular equalizer in the quarterfinals, the Hoffenheim player has started every game in Qatar so far and is expected to keep his starting spot.
- Argentina Predicted Starting Lineup: Molina, Romero, Otamendi, E. Martinez, Tagliafico, De Paul, Mac Allister, Di Maria, Fernandez, Messi, Alvarez.
- Croatia Prediction Starting Lineup: Juranovic, Gvardiol, Livakovic, Lovren, Modric, Brozovic, Sosa, Kovacic, Kramaric, Pasalic, Perisic.
World Cup Semi-Final Match Prediction – Argentina 2-1 Croatia
Croatia’s World Cup match against another elimination team means… more overtime? Hitch up your seatbelts. Dalic’s defenders have given it their all in Qatar, and Argentina did not do a great job breaking down the Dutch until Messi’s exceptional brilliance broke through.
Considering how lethal the Checkered Ones can be from 12-yards out, Scaloni should utilize his enviable wealth of attacking options to seal the deal in regulation. Still, it could take the full 120 minutes for La Albiceleste to deny the Checkered Ones a final appearance and set up a mouthwatering showdown with Morocco or France.