Albiceleste will face a tough challenge against Zlatko Dalić‘s men in the semifinals.

Argentina is set to face Croatia in the semifinals of the World Cup 2022. The last time they faced each other was in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup. Croatia beat Argentina by scoring three goals. Just like in the previous World Cup, Croatia is definitely surprising everyone. They managed to beat Brazil in the penalty shootouts and will now face a tough test against Argentina on their road to victory. On the other hand, Argentina is well prepared after beating the Netherlands in a tough match.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 Players to watch out for in Argentina vs Croatia:

5. Josko Gvardiol

The 20-year-old defender is proving to be a real gem for Croatia. In a tournament like the World Cup, often attackers shine and make the headlines. However, for Croatia, Gvardiol is their key player in defence. Croatia has only conceded three goals in the World Cup 2022. (excluding the penalty shootouts against Japan). The surprising part is Gvardiol seems to shine in a team which is not defensive in nature. Josko has portrayed great confidence and has won around 70 per cent of his defensive duels. Moreover, Gvardiol’s team and country need him the most especially against a team like Argentina. 

4. Emiliano Martinez

Martinez first came to the spotlight when Arsenal’s Bernd Leno was injured. At that time, Emi was Arsenal’s substitute keeper. Since then, Emiliano Martinez won the FA Cup and Copa America. Emi’s performance in the FA Cup final and especially in the Copa America semifinals and finals was just the beginning for him. In the quarterfinals game against the Netherlands, despite conceding two goals Emiliano Martinez showed up in the penalty shootouts. Emiliano Martinez saved the first two penalties giving Argentina momentum. Just like Livakovic, Emiliano Martinez is a great shot-stopper as well. It will truly be a bout between two extraordinary keepers, especially if the match goes to penalties.

3. Alexis Mac Allister 

Mac Allister is known to many Premier League fans. Alexis Mac Allister is a key player for Brighton & Hove Albion. He has scored 5 goals in 14 Premier League appearances. Mac Allister also scored a goal against Poland in the Group stage. Alexis Mac Allister is not much of a goal threat but is rather a creative player. Filling in the boots of Giovani Lo Celso, Mac Allister’s creative skills have made him stand out for Argentina. Alexis has developed into a deep-lying playmaker. Mac Allister is also key in protecting the backline. Mac Allister will be key in helping Enzo Fernandes and De Paul to dominate the midfield against Croatia.

2. Dominik Livakovic 

Livakovic was not one of the big names for Croatia when the World Cup 2022 first started. Over a span of 2 weeks, Livakovic has shown his speciality in penalty shootouts. Livakovic first came in the clutch against Japan in the Round Of 16. After a heated match and extra time, the match went to penalty shootouts. Dominik managed to make three penalty saves. As if that was not glorious enough, Dominik Livakovic made a decisive save against Rodrygo Goes. This eventually led to Croatia knocking out Brazil. Livakovic made a total of 11 saves against Brazil till Neymar Jr scored a goal. After the penalty shootouts, Dominik made history. He is now the only keeper alongside Harald Schumacher and Danijel Subasic to make four shootout saves. If Croatia’s defence cannot hold Argentina at bay, Livakovic is the only goalkeeper who can.

1. Lionel Messi

Who other than Lionel Messi? The boy from Rosario, Argentina’s hero and captain. Lionel Messi turned up after a disappointing first season at PSG. After a surprise exit from his boyhood club FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi failed to perform in his first season at PSG. However, Messi now has 23 goals and 29 assists in 53 appearances for PSG across all competitions. Considering his form over the years, Lionel Messi is just starting to get in form. Argentina’s captain has an astounding 95 goals in 170 appearances. Lionel Messi already has scored 4 goals at the World Cup 2022. After scoring a very calm and composed penalty against the Netherlands, Messi is trying to make zero mistakes. Lionel Messi is Croatia’s main problem as they both face each other in the semifinals.

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