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Argentina vs Croatia Preview – team news, how to watch & potential line-ups

Lusail Iconic Stadium is the venue as Argentina and Croatia go head-to-head in the 2022 World Cup semi-final tie on Tuesday at 7.00 pm. 

Despite boasting a 2-0 lead with less than ten minutes left on the clock, La Albiceleste had to survive a nail-biting penalty shootout to dispatch the Netherlands in their mouth-watering quarter-final contest. 

Two late strikes from Wout Weghorst cancelled out goals from Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi in a dramatic 2-2 draw, but Emiliano Martinez came up huge in the shoot-out. 

Martinez’s stops to thwart Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis catapulted Lionel Scaloni’s team into the semi-finals, where they will lock horns with tournament specialists Croatia.

Despite racking up just one win in regulation time, courtesy of a 4-1 thrashing of Canada in the group stages, beaten finalists from 2018 have made it to the World Cup last four for the third time. 

Zlatko Dalic’s side pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the Qatar showpiece, as they defeated pre-tournament favourites Brazil on penalties following a 1-1 draw

In doing so, they’ve become only the fourth European nation to advance into back-to-back semi-finals of a World Cup, yet they’ll have to defy the odds once more to enter the grand final.

Match Preview

Argentina


Argentina boast a 100% win ratio across their five previous forays into the World Cup semi-finals, most recently overcoming the Netherlands in ‘Brazil 2014.’

However, La Albiceleste have claimed just one victory in their last seven World Cup matches against nations from the UEFA confederation (D3, L3), beating Poland 2-0 in this tournament’s round of 16.

With Messi vying for coveted World Cup glory probably for one last time, the reigning Copa America champions can draw confidence from losing only one of their last 41 outings (W30, D10). 

Croatia

Masters of going the distance, Dalic’s men have navigated two penalty shootouts in Qatar, leaving Brazil and Japan in their wake, and are looking for another cagey affair in Lusail. 

Despite coming this far in the tournament, Croatia have frustratingly failed to open the scoring in their last nine World Cup fixtures, showing they don’t need to fly out of the traps to get results. 

That said, the Blazers have found the back of the net in each of their ten matches in the World Cup knockout stage, with five of their last six such contests going to extra time.

Argentina vs Croatia Head-to-Head

Argentina and Croatia first met at a World Cup in the 1998 group stages, with Mauricio Pineda firing La Albiceleste to a narrow 1-0 win.

However, the Europeans claimed their revenge in Russia four years ago, thumping their South American counterparts 3-0 in the group phase. 

Other than those two clashes at the world’s biggest international stage, they have faced each other twice in friendly encounters, with each team acquiring one win apiece. All that suggests this showdown can go either way. 

Argentina vs Croatia Team News

A tense finale in Argentina’s quarter-final match against the Netherlands saw Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna pick up yellow cards that will sideline them for this game. 

Unlike their rivals, Croatia’s star midfielders Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic managed to walk the disciplinary tightrope against Brazil and avoid being booked to remain available for selection. 

Argentina vs Croatia Potential Line-ups

Argentina (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister; Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Julian Alvarez.

Croatia (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Ivan Perisic.

Argentina vs Croatia Prediction 

Unfazed by a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their curtain-raising 2022 World Cup fixture, the Argentines have displayed mental fortitude to go the distance. 

Scaloni boasts a formidable strength in depth that gave him the luxury to bench the likes of Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez in both previous knockout matches. 

However, let’s not forget that Brazil had perhaps the most intimidating squad in Qatar but fell short against a well-organised Croatia. 

Dalic cannot call upon a star-studded bench if things go south, yet the Blazers’ ability to perform at the highest level with very few alterations has been admirable. 

It’s impossible to write Croatia off, but we see this as the end of the road for Dalic’s ageing line-up. 

Argentina 2-1 Croatia

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