The semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 are set to be underway
After the first two gruelling quarterfinals, Argentina and Croatia have emerged as two of the four teams which will lock horns in the semi-finals. The 2018 finalists are aiming to reach their second-straight title match, after falling just short at the hands of France four years ago. Luka Modric and company will hope to do the same to Lionel Messi and Argentina, as they did to Neymar and Brazil. Lionel Messi-led Argentine team had to endure a slugfest against the Netherlands and register a 4-3 win in the penalties.
Kick off time: 12:30 AM IST, 8:00 PM CET
Argentina Form (all compititons): L-W-W-W-W
Croatia Form (all compititons): D-W-D-W-W
Injury and team news
Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will be suspended for this match, so Nicolas Tagliafico will likely start and that might mean less attacking threat down Argentina’s left side. Angel Di Maria may also come back into the starting lineup which may change Argentina’s shape, although he was used as a reluctant extra-time sub against the Netherlands which indicates he may not be fully fit just yet.
For the last World Cup finalists, Borna Sosa’s return created a massive impact on the game. But Croatia could be without Borna Barisic and Josip Stanisic, who have missed the previous two games.
Players to watch
Dominik Livakovic put in a stunning performance to frustrate Brazil and help Croatia to a penalty shootout win and into the World Cup semi-finals. His performance has been very consistent throughout this tournament and he is the wall which stopped the ball from going into the net. Due to Argentina’s attacking threat he will be crucial in this big match.
He is one of the best-performing players in this tournament, even at the age of 35 he is having a massive impact on his team and leading the team as the perfect leader. The dutch failed to stop him and he led his team to victory. He is the most creative player in his team and his form in this tournament has been amazing. Since it is his last World Cup, He will try his best to take his team to the final.
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Argentina predicted lineup(3-5-2):
E. Martínez (GK); Romero, Otamendi, L. Martínez; Molina, De Paul, E. Fernández, Mac Allister, Tagliafico; Messi (C), Álvarez
Croatia predicted lineup(4-3-3):
Livakovic (GK); Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric (C); Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic
After the way Croatia played against Brazil, it’s hard to see why they can’t muster the same performance against a similar opponent in Argentina. Croatia’s midfield played defence via possession against Brazil, with Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, and Mateo Kovacic producing a masterclass. That would be a winning formula against Argentina as well as they hope to cut off the line-breaking passes that Argentina loves to deliver. Croatia could do business again here with a pragmatic performance. Even though Argentina are favourites to win this match, but this match will be won by Croatia.
Prediction: Argentina 0 – 1 Croatia
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