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Argentina vs Croatia, FIFA World Cup 2022, Today Match Prediction

Lusail, Lusail Iconic Stadium

3

Star

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Leo Messi has World Cup glory with Argentina in his sights despite Croatia challenge

  • Argentina are aiming to reach their sixth World Cup final at this year’s tournament
  • Croatia were finalists themselves back in 2018, beating Argentina along the way
  • Winner will face either France or Morocco in showpiece game

Argentina to win 1-0

Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Lusail, Lusail Iconic Stadium

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There is history to be made wherever you look at this stage of the tournament.

For Argentina, they are seeking to reach their sixth World Cup Final having never previously lost at this stage of a tournament.

Only Germany have bettered that, reaching the showpiece match on eight occasions. More importantly for many fans, Leo Messi remains on course to finally win the World Cup, the only trophy that has eluded him.

It would be the most fitting way to end his otherwise perfect career. For a time against the Netherlands in their Quarter Final game, it looked as though it wouldn’t happen – they needed penalties to get over the line.

Croatia are looking to reach successive finals, having done so in the 2018 tournament. They went on to lose to France on that occasion (the same may well happen again here), but they are more experienced this time.

Luca Modric continues to fly the flag, not only for his country but for those older players still competing at the very highest level. 

Who will go through and who will go home bitterly disappointed?

Argentina Preview

FIFA Ranking: 3

Predicted Finish: Final

Reasons to be cheerful:

     Have peaked at the right time in this tournament

     Never been eliminated at the Semi Final stage previously

Reasons to be fearful:

     Were beaten by Croatia 3-0 at the last World Cup

     Both full backs – Acuna and Montiel – are suspended here

After suffering the most humiliating of defeats to start their campaign – a 2-1 disaster against Saudi Arabia – Argentina have turned their tournament around.

Some would say, in the way that often describes winning teams, that they have peaked at the right time – that is to say, come the business end of the tournament.

They looked in control of their Semi Final against the Netherlands and, although they conceded two late goals and needed penalties to win it, they will be confident of imposing themselves in a similar way here.

Messi is, of course, without equal. At 35, he has made this tournament his own. In Emi Martinez, Argentina now have a goalkeeper with the ability, and the ego, capable of backing up Messi’s ability going forward.

This will be a tough hurdle for them to overcome, but their record at this stage of the competition is perfect.

Star Man – Leo Messi

Is delivering on the biggest occasions, in every round at this World Cup. With a goal and an assist in the last game, he now needs one more of each to become Argentina’s record goal and assist maker at World Cups.

Croatia Preview

FIFA Ranking: 12

Predicted Finish: Semi Finals 

Reasons to be cheerful

     Win over Brazil was one of the greatest in their history

     Have recent experience of reaching a Final 

Reasons to be fearful

     Have required penalties to progress in four of their last eight knockout games

     A tough ask to knockout Brazil and then Argentina

On the other side of the draw, you’ve got Morocco beating Belgium, Spain and now Portugal. Over here, we have Croatia who have just seen off Brazil.

Although Morocco are getting all the credit right now, we must not underplay the role that Croatia have taken in this tournament so far. They are one game away from reaching successive finals, which would be fantastic.

Only three European nations – Italy, Germany and the Netherlands – have reached two finals consecutively, and that is the challenge that awaits them here. 

While Croatia’s powers of determination are now legendary, can they really expect to beat Brazil followed by Argentina? 

Star Man – Luca Modric

Modric was sensational yet again against Brazil. Although Croatia were behind for much of the game, they control large parts through the brilliance of Modric and co. He’ll be key if they are to do the same again.

     Croatia could edge possession

     How can you keep Messi quiet?

     Croatia must do more in normal time to win

While Croatia’s record in recent knockout stages in fantastic, you feel that their luck in extra time and penalties is going to run out sooner or later.

They need to find a way of winning games in normal time, although that may pose a problem here with the form of Leo Messi and co. Angel di Maria should be back for Argentina too.

Croatia will probably see more of the ball than their opponents, but with a lack of cutting edge upfront, it leaves it open for Messi to put on another sensational display and take his country to the Final.

Argentina to win 1-0

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Author: Ross B.