Important aspects of Croatia vs. Argentina’s World Cup semi-final game

Argentina’s quarter-final victory over the Netherlands exposed both their strengths and weaknesses as Lionel Messi’s brilliance gave them a 2-0 lead. Before they maintained their composure to win on penalties, the game deteriorated into an ill-tempered contest. They’ve clawed their way through to the last four for the sixth time in their history, with Messi penalty-saving goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez at the forefront. They were under pressure after their 2-1 shock group-stage loss to Saudi Arabia. Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal matchup between Croatia and Argentina takes place at the Lusail Stadium.

Some of the game’s keys are listed below;

Messi or Modric magic?

At this World Cup, Lionel Messi’s late-career transformation into a deft creative operating behind the front line has accelerated. With his excellent defense-splitting ball to bring up the first goal in the quarterfinal matchup against the Netherlands, he demonstrated just how powerful he can be. In order to gain the upper hand, Croatia is unlikely to use a specific man-marker to target Messi. Instead, they will rely on their historically strong defense and one of the finest midfielders in the competition. Although Mateo Kovacic, who put in a solid defensive effort against Brazil, is likely to be expected for a similar performance, Marcelo Brozovic, who plays the deepest defensive position in the Croat midfield trio, is likely to have the most work to do in neutralizing Messi, 35. With the ball, Croatia has its own diminutive senior maestro in 37-year-old Luka Modric. His ability to set the pace, hold onto the ball, and lead his team into dangerous areas is essential to Croatia’s aspirations of making it to back-to-back World Cup finals.

Croat’s fortitude or weariness?

Similar to four years ago in Russia, where Croatia won every knockout phase game after extra time – twice on penalties – before the final – Zlatko Dalic’s team has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to grind out games past the 90-minute mark. In games against Brazil and Japan, Croatia gave up the opening goal before battling back to win on penalties. Will that remarkable mental fortitude once more prove to be decisive, or will those protracted conflicts have a physical toll? The fact that Argentina, who defeated the Netherlands in an extremely exhausting quarterfinal match, also had to win on penalties will benefit Croatia, and the key question on Tuesday will be which squad is more rested.

12th player for Argentina

In the stands, where more than 40,000 Argentine fans passionately supported their team against the Dutch at the Lusail Stadium, Argentina can clearly be said to have the upper hand. Since there were so few orange-clad supporters in the stadium’s approximately 89,000-seat capacity, the last-eight matchup effectively became a home game for Argentina. On Tuesday, it will almost definitely be the same scenario at the same stadium, with Argentina’s supporters’ yells and songs drowning out Croatia’s considerably smaller contingent. Will it have an effect on the game? Nearly likely. Numerous studies have demonstrated that performing in front of an appreciative audience has a favorable effect on performance.

A stunning possibility?

Argentina and Croatia are in the uncommon position of lacking an established world-class forward due to Messi’s deeper role, which is also the case for Argentina. Andrej Kramaric started the semi-final between Croatia and Brazil as the center forward, but Bruno Petkovic later took his place and scored the game-tying goal. Argentina started Julian Alvarez of Manchester City as their main striker against the Netherlands; Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan replaced him and caused a lot of trouble in extra time. The semi-final will be interesting to watch if one of those substitutes receives a start or if they are once again expected to contribute from the bench.



Teacher, Blogger, Comic writer, riveting stories concerning the Ghanaian citizenry and the world at large.

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