World Cup

Argentina’s hopes of making it to the World Cup final are thwarted by Croatia.

Argentina, led by superstar Lionel Messi, entered the World Cup as one of the favorites, but they will face Croatia, the runners-up from last year, who were too much for the other championship hopefuls, Brazil, in the semifinal on Tuesday.

After falling behind 1-0 in extra time, the Croats rallied to shock the tournament favorites in the quarterfinals with a masterful performance. They then forced a winning penalty shootout.

Despite the fact that Brazil’s recent form made their elimination of the five-time world champions somewhat unexpected, it was nevertheless a classic Croatian accomplishment.

Disciplined Croatia persevered in the face of overwhelming odds to earn a spot in their second consecutive World Cup semifinal, and Argentina would be foolish to underestimate them.

At the age of 37, playmaker Luka Modric has been their motivating force and an inspiration to the rest of the team.

Zlatko Dalic’s club is bursting with confidence and ready for more, with no players now facing suspension and no active injuries following the return of defender Borna Sosa.

While Mario Pasalic is anticipated to preserve his spot in attack, super-sub Bruno Petkovic, who scored the equalizer against Brazil, might reclaim his starting position over Andrej Kramaric.

The Argentines have their work cut out for them if they want to win the World Cup for the first time since Diego Maradona’s squad in 1986.

As a result of their bookings, starting defenders Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel are suspended, which reduces Lionel Scaloni’s choices at the back.

Nicolas Tagliafico might replace the first, but the formation will be less aggressive because wingback Acuna has given the squad more energy.


Angel Di Maria, a 34-year-old veteran who has mostly been used as a substitute in the tournament despite returning from an injury, also has some doubts about his health.

Messi, who is 35 and likely playing in his final World Cup, is driven to complete his enormous collection of major championships by winning the final one, but he also carries the nation’s hopes and dreams.

Without a global championship, which the late Maradona nearly single-handedly won 36 years ago, the comparison with Maradona for the title of best Argentine player of all time cannot be comprehensive.

After the Dutch rallied from a 2-0 deficit to score twice late in the game and force extra time and penalties in a contentious match, they nearly failed to go to the semifinals.

Even though goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez responded to the situation against the Netherlands by saving two penalty kicks, Scaloni’s team must be terrified by the thought of another shootout, this time against extremely strong Croatia.

Croatia has a perfect 4-0 record after making it to the 2018 final after two shootouts, extra time, and a semifinal loss to France. They have also gone to penalties in both of their knockout stage matches in Qatar. Considering that statistic, they would certainly advance to the final if they won another game against Argentina.

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