Having already sent one South American giant home from the Football World Cup, Croatia will be looking to reach the final in a row when they take on Argentina in the semi-finals on Tuesday at Lusail Iconic Stadium. Both sides’ penalty prowess decided a nervous quarter-final struggle when Zlatko Dalic’s men knocked out Brazil from penalties just hours before La Albiceleste beat the Netherlands from 12 yards.
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If there was one game that could characterize the chaotic, brash and unpredictable nature of the Football World Cup, then the quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands followed the script to the second. The Lionel-inspired Messi Albiceleste one-footed a solid semi-final thanks to Nahuel Molina and a calm penalty from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, but a late double from Wout Weghorst, including a 100th-minute equalizer, forced the most unlikely of extra time periods.
It took another penalty shoot-out to decide the fate of the two teams, and after massive brawls, an abundance of play and a staggering 17 yellow cards, Argentina held their ground to win and advance to the final four. The football gods would certainly have set up a South American semi-final between Brazil and Argentina, and while this is not the case with Lionel Scaloni’s harvest, the record of America’s Cup winners in Football World Cup semi final makes for a very enjoyable read. right.
Argentina have never been eliminated from the final four Football World Cups and have reached the final every time they have gone this far – the fifth and last of these came in the 2014 tournament before their heartbreaking loss to Germany. Valiant scorers Scaloni advance to the semi-finals by scoring twice in each of their last four matches in all competitions, scoring in each of their last 14 matches in total. must prepare with due diligence.
Upon Dominik Livakovic’s return to his homeland, the first question the Croatian goalkeeper might be asked is likely to be about the whereabouts of his statue, as number one Dinamo Zagreb turned down Brazil time and time again before the Checkered’s proclivity for penalties reached its breaking point. front.
While Brazil struggled to find their way through Croatia’s infamous stubborn defense, Neymar took the liberty of breaking the deadlock in the 106th minute with a fine goal, but a Bruno Petkovic strike in the 117th minute saw the ball hit the corner through the deflection to trigger a 12-yard battle of nerves.
Livakovic pinned Brazil 11 times before also saving from Rodrigo in a shootout, and the Seleção’s dream was dashed when a Marquinhos shot shattered the post, allowing the red-and-whites to ravage the red-and-whites as they celebrated their second consecutive Football World Cup semi final.
Dalic’s team reached the 2018 Football World Cup final notably without winning a regular-time knockout game, and history is about to repeat itself for the Checkered, who are now 11 games unbeaten ahead of a showdown with Argentina. Croatia would be in elite company if they could make it to the exhibition tournament – only Italy, the Netherlands and Germany have ever made it to the finals in a row – and the Dalic team can be sure that they have never missed a 10 playoff match world championship.
Argentina and Croatia have already met twice in the group stage of the Football World Cup when Albiceleste won 1-0 in 1998, but four years ago the Checkered had a memorable 3-0 victory over Argentina in Russia, and several members this team is still here to try and strike Lusail twice.
Referee Mateu Laos, happy with the cards, won’t be friends with the Argentina and Netherlands camps anytime soon, especially since two of his 17 warnings have gone to Albiceleste cornerbacks Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Akuna, who are now suspended for the semi-finals.
Montiel is unlikely to challenge Molina for the right-back spot and Acuna will hand over left-back duties to Nicolás Tagliafico as he takes his place on a naughty step, but Scaloni thankfully didn’t witness any player get injured in the 120- minute quarter.
Alejandro Gomez is looking to be approachable as he recovers from an ankle sprain, while Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria, who have their own grooming issues, expect to be in good shape to start the semi-finals.
Scaloni opted to match the Netherlands line-up with a five-man back line by bringing Lisandro Martinez back from the cold, but a switch to a four-man defense could see the Manchester United player now succumb to Di Maria.
As for Croatia, Dalic has been blessed with a fully equipped squad for the quarter-final victory over Brazil and should work with all his players on Tuesday after Borna Sosa and Mislav Orsic recovered from their respective illnesses. With his side’s well-documented goalscoring struggle, Dalic brought in Mario Pasalic at the first whistle against Brazil and the Atalanta player can feel confident holding his position on the right flank.
Andrej Kramaric may be fearful for his place in attack after Petkovic’s dramatic quarter-final equalizer, but the Hoffenheim player has started every game in Qatar so far and will likely hold his spot from the start. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets.
Argentina possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Fernandez, De Paul, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez
Croatia possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Juranovic, Gvardiol, Lovren, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic
Another Football World Cup play-off for Croatia, another period of extra time? Fasten seat belts. The Dalic defenders have so far gone all out in Qatar, and Argentina failed to do an exemplary job of crushing the Dutch before Messi’s individual prowess showed up.
Knowing how dangerous the Croats are from 12 yards, Scaloni should use his enviable wealth of attacking opportunities to try to end the game in regulation time, but it could take 120 minutes for La Albiceleste to deny the Checkers another final appearance and set up an enticing rivalry with Morocco. or France.
Two Favorites, Two Underdogs, Too Good
France and Argentina entered the Football World Cup as contenders, but Croatia and Morocco proved to be worthy contenders for the title. Even Didier Deschamps, France’s usually gracious coach, seemed a little indifferent in the wee hours of Sunday morning. His team overtook England in a tense, tense game, the kind that, just after the final whistle, the stadium hype’s insistence that it was “a lot of fun” for everyone seems like more than a touch of disagreement.
Deschamps’ cheerful mood is easily explained. With his team’s 2-1 victory, he achieved the only goal that even the best team in the world, the reigning champion, dared to set before this Football World Cup. France outlived not only England, but also Brazil, Spain and Germany. He made it to the final four. Anything from that point forward is considered additional credit.
Both semi-finals follow basically the same pattern, with one of the teams that arrived in Qatar World Cup as established opponents facing off against one of the tournament’s little-known underdogs. The mention of this set-up was the only thing that dispelled Deschamps’ good spirits. According to him, any of the four teams can become the winner. With everything that’s happened in the past three weeks to bring the FIFA World Cup to this point, it’s hard to disagree.
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