Croatia head into the World Cup 2022 semi-final hoping to upset yet another of the favourites, having already knocked out Brazil and seen off Belgium in the group stage – now they face Argentina.
There’s real reason to believe the Europeans could make it back-to-back finals, too, given the form of excellent young defender Josko Gvardiol, the dominance they have in midfield at times and the shot-stopping ability of goalkeeper Dominic Livakovic.
The latter has been crucial in penalty shootouts already, but he’ll now also have to see off Lionel Messi and Co across 90 minutes first.
This is only the second time since 1990 that Argentina have reached the semis; in 2014 they finished as runners-up, with Croatia doing the same four years later.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the last-four encounter.
When is the match?
The first semi-final of the 2022 World Cup sees Argentina face Croatia with a 7pm kick-off on Tuesday 13 December. The winners face either France or Morocco in the final.
Where can I watch?
This game will be broadcast live on ITV 1 and STV, while it can also be streamed on ITV X and the STV Player.
What is the team news?
Argentina will have at least one change to their starting XI, as Marcos Acuna is suspended. Nicolas Tagliafico will therefore come in at left-back. On the other side of defence Gonzalo Montiel is also suspended, though he’s behind Nahuel Molina now in any case. Lionel Scaloni went for a three-man back line against Netherlands but could revert to 4-3-3 here, which means either Angel Di Maria or Lautaro Martinez might be considered for a recall.
Croatia will keep it as settled as possible, with only Josip Stanic a doubt, though he hasn’t been a starter anyway. The big decision once more for Zlatko Dalic will be who to start as the third attacker, along with Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric. Bruno Petkovic through the middle or Mario Pasalic on the right are the most likely options.
Argentina XI: E Martinez, Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico, E Fernandez, De Paul, Mac Allister, Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez
Croatia XI: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Brozovic, Modric, Kovacic, Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic
Argentina to have the cutting edge and mental resilience where Brazil failed in the last round. Argentina 2-1 Croatia.
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