Lucky11| FIFA World Cup Semi-Final: Argentina vs Croatia
When Croatia and Argentina square off in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal at Lusail Iconic Stadium, they will be looking to go to back-to-back finals after sending one South American powerhouse home from the tournament.
A few hours before La Albiceleste defeated the Netherlands from 12 yards, Zlatko Dalic's team eliminated Brazil on penalties to settle tense quarterfinal matches. Argentina's quarterfinal matchup with the Netherlands was a perfect example of how chaotic, competitive, and unpredictable the 2022 World Cup will be.
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Argentina's Journey to Semi-Finals
Through Nahuel Molina and the cool penalty of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, a Lionel Messi-inspired Albiceleste appeared to be headed for the semi-finals. However, a late brace from Wout Weghorst, including an equalizer in the 100th minute, caused the most unlikely of extra times.
The outcome of the match would be decided by yet another penalty shootout, and despite numerous fights, roughhousing, and an astounding 17 yellow cards, Argentina maintained composure to win and move on to the semifinals.
Argentina has never lost in the World Cup's last four and has advanced to the championship game each time they have reached this stage. Their most recent appearance in this stage was in the 2014 tournament, just before their painful loss to Germany.
Croatia's Journey To Semi-Finals
Dominik Livakovic of Croatia will undoubtedly be questioned about the placement of his statue upon his return to his native country because he often stopped Brazil before the Checkered Ones' fondness for penalties became apparent.
Neymar scored a beautiful goal to give Brazil the lead in the 106th minute while Croatia's defense was famously tough to penetrate. However, Bruno Petkovic's effort in the 117th minute found its way into the corner via a deflection to force a 12-yard battle of nerves.
Only Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany have ever made back-to-back final appearances, so Croatia would be in very select company if they can advance to the championship game. Dalic's team can also take heart from the fact that they have scored in all 10 of their World Cup knockout games.
A memorable 3-0 victory over Argentina was achieved by the Checkered Ones in Russia four years ago, and several members of that team are still present to try to make lightning strike twice in Lusail. Argentina and Croatia have previously faced each other twice in the World Cup group stage, with La Albiceleste winning both times by a score of 1-0 in 1998.
Another round of the World Cup for Croatia, another round of overtime? Hold on. Although Dalic's defenders have given their all so far in Qatar, Argentina did not do a particularly good job of dismantling the Dutch before Messi's exceptional brilliance emerged.
Scaloni should use his enviable array of attacking options to try to end the game in normal time given how dangerous the Croatians are from 12 yards, but it might take 120 minutes for La Albiceleste to deny the Checkered Ones another final appearance and set up a tantalizing matchup with Morocco or France. We are predicting a 2-1 win for Argentina.
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