WORLD CUP PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

WORLD CUP PREVIEW Tues: Argentina v Croatia

After knocking out Brazil in the quarter-finals, Croatia will now look to send another South American team home – and reach their second World Cup final in a row – when they come face-to-face with Argentina at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Argentina had to navigate a difficult, but absolutely thrilling, quarter-final clash with the Netherlands in all-time classic World Cup encounter.

Thanks to the brilliance of Lionel Messi, who assisted the first and scored the second, Argentina raced into a 2-0 lead in the second-half and must have thought that would be that with the clock beginning to tick down.

But they didn’t account for the tactical switch made by Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal where the veteran coach, in what will be his final match, decided to go all-school by going full route-one with former Burnley striker Wout Weghorst the target up-front.

Two late goals from Weghorst, which included an ingenious free-kick in the 10th minute of stoppage time, sent the tie to extra-time and penalties with Emiliano Martinez making himself the hero in the shoot-out once more.

Due to a record-breaking number of yellow cards in that match, Argentina now have a couple of suspensions to deal with as Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna are both banned from this semi-final clash.

Argentina v Croatia
FIFA World Cup 2022 Semi-Final
19:00 ITV1 / STV / ITVX / STV Player

HEAD-TO-HEAD
JUN 2018 WORLD CUP Argentina 0-3 Croatia
NOV 2014 FRIENDLY Argentina 2-1 Croatia
MAR 2006 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Croatia 3-2 Argentina
JUN 1998 WORLD CUP Argentina 1-0 Croatia

ARGENTINA
NOV 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
NOV 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Argentina 2-0 Mexico
NOV 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Poland 0-2 Argentina
DEC 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Argentina 2-1 Australia
DEC 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Netherlands 2-2 Argentina

CROATIA
NOV 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Morocco 0-0 Croatia
NOV 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Croatia 4-1 Canada
DEC 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Croatia 0-0 Belgium
DEC 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Japan 1-1 Croatia (won 3-0 on penalties)
DEC 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP Croatia 0-0 Brazil (won 4-2 on penalties)

Once again at this World Cup, Croatia have defied the odds and reached the last-four of the tournament for the second time in a row; toppling the mighty Brazil in the process.

Despite very few meaningful attacks or attempts on goal, Croatia held firm, frustrated Brazil for large periods of the match and – when they needed an equalising goal after Neymar had given Brazil the lead – were clinical and ruthless.

Ultimately, it was goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic who made himself the hero again after he pulled off save after save during the match and then standing big in the penalty shoot-out.

This has been a team effort from Croatia of course, but it would be hard to imagine that they would have achieved the same success in Qatar without Livakovic.

This will be another tight and cagey affair, Croatia will make it that way. They have also displayed during this tournament that they are hard to beat, have an excellent team spirit and this will be a tougher game than perhaps the prices suggest.

Traders’ view: “Tournament team Croatia very hard to beat and feel Argentina are a bit short. Overreliance on Messi can’t continue every game and they looked shaky once the Netherlands had a go late on.”

The bet that I am backing with starsports.bet for this one is for Croatia to continue to shock the world and reach another World Cup final, just as they did in Russia in the 2018 tournament.

JOE CITRONE


RECOMMENDED BETS

BACK Croatia to win tie 2pts at 21/10 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (WORLD CUP 2022): LOSS 40.28 points (after matches on Sat 10 Dec, includes TWO GOOD bonus on CAMEROON v SERBIA 28 Nov)
(Will include returns from both the OUTRIGHT and SPECIALS previews too)


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