Match Today: Argentina vs Croatia 13-12-2022 World Cup 2022 semi-finals
Croatia faces Argentina to reach the World Cup final for the second time in a row, and the two teams meet Argentina at Lusail Stadium, hoping to return there on Sunday in order to decide the title.
The last country to reach the World Cup finals twice in a row was Brazil in 2002. It was the Brazilians who were knocked out by Croatia in the quarter-finals of this tournament.
It took a penalty shootout for them to do that and that's exactly how their opponents qualified as well. Argentina squandered a two-goal lead against the Netherlands and had to endure penalties before confirming their first World Cup semi-final since 2014, when they lost in the final.
This is the sixth round of the World Cup semi-finals, and they have not lost yet. Argentina lost their opening match but have avoided further losses since then. They're still not firing on all cylinders, maybe that's being saved for the final stages of the World Cup.
Messi is still in great shape, and while that is the case, Argentina cannot be counted. It is a feeling of distress since Argentina lost their opening match to Saudi Arabia. Since then they have achieved victories over Mexico, Poland, Australia and the Netherlands. They have scored exactly two goals in each of their last four matches.
Argentina vs Croatia
While Lionel Messi is chasing Kylian Mbappe for the Golden Boot, he scored once in four of the five matches Argentina played in Qatar. Their quarter-final victory means Argentina now have just one loss in their last 41 international matches.
The defeat against Saudi Arabia is the only one they have suffered since losing to Brazil in July 2019. Earlier this year they won the Copa America. Argentina will look to extend their excellent record against countries outside South America. Their most recent loss was by one when they lost to France in the 2018 World Cup.
In the last 15 matches, Croatia have reached their third World Cup semi-final. The only one they lost was in 1998 when they were beaten by France. They have played five matches in this World Cup but over 90 minutes they have won only one.
That was their 4-1 win over Canada in the group stage. All of their other four matches ended in a draw after 90 minutes with less than 2.5 goals in each. They are yet to advance to the 2022 World Cup game. They even bounced back against Canada. Croatia are unbeaten in their last 11 international matches, the most recent loss being against Austria in June.
In their last 12 World Cup matches the only loss was against France in the 2018 final. Of their last five World Cup knockout round matches, four have been won on penalties, the other being an extra-time victory over England.
There have been five previous matches between these two countries. Croatia has won twice in the last three. That includes the 3-0 win over Argentina in the 2018 World Cup.
Argentina vs Croatia
Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will miss this match. Both Argentine full-backs were suspended for this match.
After all the quarter-final bookings, Argentina will need to be careful not to incur more yellow cards or players could end up missing the final if they qualify.
This is a concern for Croatia too with Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic both holding one yellow card. Croatia do not have major injury problems and are expected to have a full squad to choose from.
Three out of five World Cup matches have ended goalless after 90 minutes. Argentina have kept seven clean sheets in their last 10 international matches. It looks like a tight match awaits us in the World Cup semi-finals. Only who will face France or Morocco in the final? Croatia haven't made a massive amount since the 2018 World Cup, but they did make it to the last four for the second tournament in a row.
Just like in 2018, they were no strangers to matches going into overtime and eventually penalties. They seem to be masters of winning closely fought World Cup matches. They beat Canada in just 90 minutes, but can Modric's magic see them back in the final?