Argentina meet Croatia in the semi-final of the World Cup. Will Lionel Messi finally claim World Cup glory? Inform your bets with predictions and insights from Pinnacle.
The meeting of the two magicians – Messi vs. Modrić
The first World Cup semi-final takes place on Tuesday at 19:00 (CET) when two-time champions Argentina face Croatia, the runners-up from four years ago, in Lusail. Argentina enter as favourites at Pinnacle's great odds of 1.826 (-121)*. Croatia are priced at 5.440 (+444)* to win and move on to the final.
Croatia beat Argentina in their last clash
The South Americans faced another European side in the quarter-finals, beating the Netherlands to make it through to the last four. While Croatia saw off another nation from South America, beating Brazil on penalties to reach the semi-finals for the second World Cup in a row.
Having bounced back from their shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina have scored two goals in each of their last four matches in the tournament.
Lionel Messi has already scored four times and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner seems determined that his final World Cup is the time to end the wait for the only major trophy he has never won.
The Paris Saint-Germain star, who has 95 international goals to his name, is currently available at 2.180 (+118)* to score at any time during the 90 minutes on Tuesday.
Lionel Scaloni’s men have scored nine goals in the tournament, compared to Croatia’s six, but it’s now 11 games without defeat for the European nation.
Croatia have twice reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, in 1998 and 2018, and are now looking to get their hands on the trophy for the first time.
Meanwhile, it’s 36 years since Argentina were last crowned world champions, although they have twice been runners-up since their success in Mexico.
The two nations have faced each other on five previous occasions, with two wins apiece and one draw, but it was Croatia that came out on top in their most recent clash – a 3-0 success at the 2018 World Cup.
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Argentina vs. Croatia - team news
Argentina will be without two squad members for this encounter, with Marcos Acuña and Gonzalo Montiel both suspended.
Acuña was replaced late in the second half against the Netherlands by Nicolás Tagliafico and the Lyon defender is expected to start in his place in the semi-final.
Scaloni will also wait for news on the fitness of Papu Gómez, who is rated doubtful due to an ankle injury which saw him miss the clash with the Netherlands.
Croatia have reported no fresh injury concerns, with Borna Sosa feeling no ill effects having returned from injury in the quarter-finals.
Coach Zlatko Dalić has a choice to make up front as to whether Andrej Kramarić or Bruno Petković, who scored the equaliser against Brazil, starts the game.
Argentina vs. Croatia predictions
For eight years, Lionel Messi and Luka Modrić battled it out for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively in El Clásico and now they will meet in what is likely to be their World Cup swansongs.
Modrić scored when the two sides met in Russia four years ago, but it’s Messi (who is two years younger than his Croatian opponent) who has been the shining star in this tournament to date. The Argentinian superstar will need to be at the top of his game again on Tuesday to help secure his team the win.
It would be no surprise if this clash goes all the way to penalties, with Croatia being stubborn defensively but not creating much going forward in the last couple of matches.
In the ‘Winner/Total Goals’ market, the Draw & Under 2.5 option is available to back at 3.820 (+282)*.
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