Argentina takes on Croatia in the first semi final of the FIFA World Cup 2022. No one would’ve ever imagined these two teams would meet at this stage of the tournament, but that’s how unpredictable sports are.

In this post, you’ll Read about
Argentina
Croatia
Key Battles

Argentina 

Argentina will be out for revenge after losing to Croatia in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. This was Leo Messi’s last realistic shot at making a World Cup final and winning it, and Croatia beating Brazil must’ve felt like a weight being lifted off the Argentine shoulders. Messi scored and assisted in one of the best World Cup quarterfinal games of all time, once again proving how important he is to the side’s attack. Emi Martinez has redeemed himself by making 2 saves in the shootout against the Dutch, sending the Europeans packing. The quarterfinals must’ve been an eye-opener for Argentina, as there were a total of 17 yellow cards shown during the game, just showing how brutal, physical, and intense the game was. Scaloni’s switch to a 3-at-back system to take on the Dutch, man for man, proved to be a master plan as the Dutch fullbacks were taken out of the game in an attacking sense. A worrying sign for Argentina has to be their tendency to concede goals late in the game after leading and dominating most parts of the game. There really should have been no scope for allowing this match to go to penalties, as the game should’ve been done and dusted by the 90th minute. This complacency can cost the South Americans their World Cup.

Leo Messi

Croatia

Croatia beating Brazil has to be the upset of the tournament, as most of the world believed that this was Brazil’s year to finally win a World Cup. Out of all the teams that could’ve knocked Brazil out in the knockouts, Croatia were the last team anyone would have suspected to do so. The Balkan team held their own through the ninety as their warriors in midfield and defense kept out the relentless Brazilian attack. Gvardiol, Modric, Kovacic and Brozovic all put in monster shifts as the team seemed impenetrable. Even after penetrating the defense, the Brazilians just could not find the net against Livakovic, who put in the performance of his life, making 11 saves, the most for a Croatian keeper in a game of football. He went on to be the hero of the penalty shootout as well, saving the first penalty taken by Rodrygo and shifting the momentum in favor of the Croatians. They went on to win their 4th consecutive penalty shootout at the World Cup and seal the semi final berth for themselves. Petokovic must be credited for equalizing in the dying minutes of extra time when everyone thought the Europeans were down and out.

Key Battles

Leo Messi vs Gvardiol- Argentina’s most important source for goals against Croatia’s most important defender will be crucial to the game. The Crotians will allow Messi to come at them, and it’s up to young Gvardiol to stop a man who has never been stopped before.

Rodrigo De Paul vs Luka Modric: The Croatian midfield is a very important aspect of the team’s style of play, With the midfielders converting play and dictating the tempo of the game, stopping Luka Modric from controlling the ball and creating chances will be a task that De Paul will have to undertake to avoid any defensive damage.

Emi Martinez vs Livakovic: Though the two will not directly battle each other, the battle of the better keeper could decide who wins the game. With both teams qualifying via penalty shootouts in which both keepers performed, it could well go down the same route again, requiring the two of them to step up for their nation.

Leo Messi vs Gvardio

Conclusion

This game will be interesting as Argentina will be allowed to barrage the Croatian half of the pitch while the Croatian defense will look to hold strong. With Argentina not having scored more than 2 goals in a game and the Croatians not conceding more than one goal in a game, a single goal will differentiate the two sides in this clash. Croatia will look to play to their strengths and take the game as deep as possible, while Argentina will try to put the game to bed in the first 90.  We predict that the 2014 finalists will beat the 2018 finalists for the win in this amazing fixture.  

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