On Tuesday night, Argentina vs Croatia will face off in a semi-final matchup at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, Al Daayen in Qatar.
After two exhausting halves, a late equalizer sent the quarterfinals to penalties, which both countries ultimately lost. Unlike their South American rivals Brazil, Argentina was able to rebound from the shock of a quick-fire Dutch double to triumph on penalty kicks. At the expense of the Selecao, Croatia improved their shootout record to a perfect 5-0.
Croatia, having previously eliminated another South American giant, will be looking to reach back-to-back championships when they face Argentina in Tuesday’s semi-final at Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Both teams advanced to the semi-finals thanks to penalty kick victories in nail-biting quarter-final matches; Zlatko Dalic’s men eliminated Brazil from the tournament, and La Albiceleste defeated the Netherlands.
In this matchup, two teams’ camps will face off, both of which have learned to use the slightest criticism, no matter how innocuous it may appear to an outsider, to motivate their squads.
Everything you need to know about the semi-final that might decide the championship is laid out here.
Where can I watch Argentina vs Croatia Live for Free?
Viewers around the world can watch the action live on the following channels and here for free:
- Venue: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Al Daayen, Qatar.
- The match starts at 19:00 GMT on Tuesday, December 13 (14:00 ET, 11:00 PT).
Argentina vs Croatia Preview
The 2022 World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands was a textbook example of the frantic, combative, and unpredictable play that has come to define the tournament.
With goals from Nahuel Molina and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s cool penalty, Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste appeared headed for the semifinals. However, a late brace from Wout Weghorst, including an unlikely equalizer in the 100th minute, caused the unlikeliest of extra-time sessions.
After a game marred by huge brawls, gamesmanship, and 17 yellow cards, a penalty shootout was necessary to determine who would move to the semifinals. Argentina kept their cool under pressure to win the shootout and earn a position in the last four.
Even if Lionel Scaloni’s team will not face Brazil in the semi-finals because the football gods refused to grant that wish, the track record of the Copa America champions in the World Cup semi-finals is highly encouraging.
For the sixth time in their history, Argentina reached the World Cup final before losing in tragic fashion to Germany in 2014.
Scaloni’s brave goal scorers have scored in each of their last four matches across all competitions, and in each of their last 14 overall. However, the resolute defence of Croatia will be a formidable obstacle for Messi and company to overcome in the semi-finals, so they will need to practice hard in advance.
When Dominik Livakovic returns home to Croatia, the first thing people may want to know is where his monument is. The Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper was instrumental in keeping Brazil from scoring before the Checkered Ones’ fondness for penalties became apparent.
Neymar scored a beautiful goal for Brazil in the 106th minute when they finally broke through the stout Croatian defence, but Bruno Petkovic’s shot in the 117th minute went in off a Croatian defender, setting up a tense 12-yard shootout.
The Selecao’s hopes were shattered when Marquinhos’s penalty kick struck the post in the shootout, but the red and white fans were in a state of euphoria as they advanced to their second consecutive World Cup semi-final.
Dalic’s team made it all the way to the 2018 World Cup final despite not winning a single knockout game in regulation, and it looks like history is about to repeat itself as the Checkered Ones are currently undefeated in 11 matches leading up to their encounter against Argentina.
Read more: FIFA World Cup 2022: Live Stream, Preview, How to watch, Fixture, and Everything you need to know.
Dalic’s squad can take heart in the fact that they have never failed to score in 10 World Cup knockout matches, putting them in elite company with only Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Group stage matches between Argentina and Croatia have been played twice before, with both times ending in 1-0 victories for La Albiceleste. However, the Checkered Ones won 3-0 against Argentina in Russia four years ago, and several players from that team are still around to try to make lightning strikes twice in Lusail.
Argentina vs Croatia Team Preview
Team Argentina Updates
Rodrigo De Paul’s absence from the quarterfinal against the Netherlands due to injury was widely rumoured, but both the manager Lionel Scaloni and the player himself strongly denied any such possibility. De Paul was taken off the field and replaced by Leandro Paredes 66 minutes into the game.
In Argentina’s intense round of 16, 18 cards were shown, setting a new record. Considering this number, it is remarkable that only two of Scaloni’s players are now on suspension. We will be without fullbacks Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel for the match against Croatia.
Predicted starting XI for Argentina: E. Martinez; M. Molina; R. Romero; T. Tagliafico; F. Fernandez; M. Mac Allister; D. Di Maria; M. Messi; A. Alvarez.
The latest Croatian team news
Four players, including pivotal midfielders Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, entered Croatia’s quarterfinal game just one caution away from suspension, but they avoided punishment. It is anticipated that all of Zlatko Dalic’s available players will be healthy and available for selection.
Predicted starting XI for Croatia: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic.