2022 World Cup: Argentina will take on Croatia in blockbuster clash

Lionel Messi’s Argentina will take on 2018 finalists Croatia in the semi-final of the 2022 World Cup
Argentina take on Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup
Argentina take on Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup

(Football news) The Lusail Stadium will be rocking when favourites Argentina take on Luka Modric’s Croatia in the semi-final of the 2022 World Cup. Both teams progressed from the quarter-finals on penalties as Croatia knocked out Brazil before Argentina overcame the Netherlands in a heated match.

It will be the last chance for two iconic Ballon d’Or winners Messi and Modric to lift the coveted trophy with both players coming very close but losing out in the finals. Despite their age (Messi 35 and Modric 37), both are still expected to be difference makers and were also goalscorers from the spot in their respective quarter-final clashes.

Modric became the first player to score three penalties in shootouts at the World Cup, also scoring against Denmark and Russia in the 2018 edition. However, Messi has the better record, scoring four goals and providing two assists while Modric is yet to get his account going.

However, the two cannot be compared directly as they play in different positions and have different roles in their respective teams. Messi has scored a total of 10 World Cup goals, with only seven players with a better record. He is one goal behind Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis and German Jurgen Klinsmann, and two behind Pele.

In team news, Argentinian full-backs Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna are unavailable for selection after being suspended for the fixture which means Nicolas Tagliafico could feature in the starting lineup. With no other injury concerns, Alejandro Gomez will be hoping to feature in the team after recovering from an ankle injury while Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria, who also have small injury concerns, are also expected to feature.

As for Croatia, Dalic has a fully fit squad after Borna Sosa and Mislav Orsic recovered from their illness. Mario Pasalic is expected to keep his place in the right wing while Andrej Kramaric might be dropped after Petkovic’s dramatic equaliser in the quarter-finals. Considering Croatia’s record, the game is expected to go into extra time but Argentina should narrowly edge it to reach the World Cup final once again.

Also read: Should Southgate stay on as England manager after World Cup disappointment?


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