- Lusail Iconic Stadium
- BBC One
Croatia Double Chance (Win or Draw)
- Croatia are unbeaten in their last 11 games across all competitions
- Argentina have conceded five times in five games at the World Cup
- Three of the last eight World Cup semi-finals have required extra time, four of the other games have been decided by one goal
- Lionel Messi scored and provided an assist in the quarter-final win over the Netherlands
Croatia stand in Argentina’s way
Argentina and Croatia meet in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday at the Lusail Iconic Stadium after both came through their previous round ties after penalty shoot-outs.
The South Americans needed spot kicks after blowing a 2-0 lead in normal time against the Netherlands, while Croatia grabbed a late equaliser in extra time before seeing off the mighty Brazil to book their own last four spot.
Argentina go into the game as heavy favourites but Croatia, who are unbeaten in their last 11 games, have perhaps been underestimated ahead of this tie.
Last chance for Messi and Modric
In some ways, these teams are incredibly similar as both have fairly workmanlike squads propping up one exceptional player. Lionel Messi is the clear star of the Argentina side, while Luka Modric pulls the string for Croatia.
This will almost certainly be the last World Cup for both, Messi is 35 and Modric is 37, and both will be looking to lead their respective nations to another big final. Messi finished as a runner-up with Argentina in 2014 and in 2018 Modric’s Croatia lost out to France in the showpiece.
Croatia proving hard to beat
These two teams met in the group stages in Russia four years ago and and the Croatians ran out 3-0 winners. A repeat result looks unlikely, but they have proven to be incredibly hard to beat in Qatar and backing the Europeans in the double chance market appeals in this game.
Zlatko Dalic’s men conceded first in the last 16 against Japan but hit back and won on penalties. They then held Brazil to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes and managed to find a leveller in extra time after falling behind, while they also conceded first in the group stages against Canada but responded and claimed a 4-1 win.
In contrast, Argentina have twice surrendered leads in Qatar – losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opener and then being pegged back by the Dutch. They also faced a few nervy moments late on against Australia after the Socceroos pulled a goal back before holding on for a 2-1 win, which suggests Croatia can at least drag this tie into extra time.
World Cup semi-finals are also generally tight affairs and three of the last eight have required extra-time, while four of the others have been decided by a one-goal margin – the one exception being Brazil’s 7-1 mauling at the hands of Germany in 2014.
Goals could be in short supply
Croatia’s games have been low scoring affairs and four of their five World Cup games have seen under 2.5 goals scored in normal time. Argentina’s fixtures have been higher scoring, but this may well be a game where defences come out on top.
However, with Messi and Modric on the pitch it is hard to see this game ending goalless and a 1-1 draw looks a reasonable selection in the correct score market. Argentina may have scored twice in each of their last four games but as a defensive unit Croatia are incredibly strong and they can limit La Albiceleste.
The stage looks set for Lionel Messi to shine and he should be involved in any Argentina goal, having produced a sublime assist against the Netherlands for their opener before scoring from the spot. As such, the Paris Saint-Germain star looks the best selection for an anytime goal.
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- 14 Feb
- 14 Feb