The semifinals of the FIFA World Cup start tomorrow with the match between Argentina and Croatia. Surprisingly, both teams qualified for the semis by winning the quarterfinals on penalties. Croatia beat Brazil on penalties, and later Argentina defeated the Netherlands on penalties also. Therefore, they will face each other tomorrow at the Lusail Stadium.
Stats & Facts
Argentina played two games against Croatia in the FIFA World Cup. Argentina won the first game in 1998 before they lost in the Russia World Cup against Croatia. However, tomorrow’s match will be their first game in the knockout stage.
Argentina have good records in the semifinals of the world cup. They have never lost a semifinal in the history of the FIFA World Cup. The Albiceleste played in five semifinals and won all of them.
Referee Mateu Lahoz’s controversial decision during the match between Argentina and the Netherlands has made the Albiceleste worried about the clash against Croatia. Mateu Lahoz booked 17 yellow cards during the game between the Albiceleste and the Holland. As a result, two Argentine, Marcos Acuna and Montiel, have been suspended for the semifinal.
Therefore, the manager has to think about the replacements of these players. Tagliafico is a favorite to play in the starting XI, replacing Marcos Acuna. But, there are more areas where Lionel Scaloni has to decide.
Angel Di Maria got a knock against Poland. Therefore, he missed the last 16 clash against Australia. However, he returned to the squad and played the final 10 minutes in the quarterfinal. There is still confusion about Di Maria. He is not 100% fit, but the manager will wait for him until the last.
Rodrigo De Paul is another doubt. Although he played the quarterfinal match from the beginning, he couldn’t continue the match. Leandro Parades replaced De Paul in the second half against the Netherlands. The remaining players are ready to play against Croatia. Coach Lionel Scaloni will decide the starting XI after the final training session.
As for Croatia, the manager is happy to get the full-fit squad ahead of the semifinal. Moreover, Borna Sosa and Mislav Orsic have recovered from injuries.