October 4, 2023



World Cup 2022 day 24: Schedule, match and what to expect

2 min read

Al Jazeera
Croatia take on Argentina in the first semifinal of the World Cup [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

Match schedule:

  • Argentina vs Croatia – Lusail Stadium 10pm (19:00 GMT)

Team news:

  • Argentina will be without full-backs Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel due to suspensions. Nicolás Tagliafico is expected to take Acuna’s place in the starting XI.
  • Croatia have a full-strength squad for the semifinal, with Borna Sosa and Mislav Orsic both available for the game after missing the quarterfinal against Brazil due to illness.

What to expect:

  • Argentina have been riding on the genius of their captain, Lionel Messi. He has been involved in six of the nine goals they’ve scored in this World Cup and their chances of victory rest heavily on him.
  • Croatia’s strength lies in their tenacity. Since 2018, they have yet to win a knockout game in 90 minutes in major competitions and they have perfected the art of grounding out results.
  • Both teams’ midfields are adept at breaking down opposition momentum and that could make the semifinal a scrappy affair.

Players and matchups to keep an eye on:

  • Goals may be at a premium in this game but with Messi and Croatia’s Luka Modric on the pitch, the genius quotient of the game will be high.
  • Messi vs Josef Gvardiol, Croatia’s defensive linchpin and Modric vs Rodrigo de Paul, Argentina’s midfield lieutenant will be the two key battles to keep an eye out for.

Route to the semifinal:

  • Argentina topped their group and overcame Australia 2-1 in the round of 16. Against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal, they went 2-0 up before being pegged back by the Dutch in injury time. They ultimately prevailed to win on penalties.
  • Croatia finished second in their group behind Morocco and defeated Japan on penalties in the round of 16. They knocked out favourites Brazil in the quarterfinal, again on penalties.

Head to head:

  • Argentina wins: 2
  • Croatia wins: 2
  • Draws: 1

The teams last met in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup where Croatia won 3-0.

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