|Argentina and Croatia will do battle for a place in the final of the FIFA World Cup, who are you rooting for? (Photo credit: FIFA)|
The World Cup has gotten to a point where it’s no longer about pedigree or squad quality but about the will to dig deep and offer something special when the game is even, it’s the semifinals and we’re excited.
Croatia will lock horns with Argentina, on paper you’d think this is heading one way but the same was expected of the game between the Samba Boys and the Croats and again, the unexpected happened; the Croats are in the semifinals and Brazil headed to the airport, never to return at least until 2026.
Argentina made a simple work look like WAEC in their quarter-final clash against the Netherlands; they led 2-0 until the final seven minutes and managed to get dragged into extra time where they had to do it the hardest possible way, from six yards out.
Croatia got here on penalties too but their grit and precision when they lost their way in extra time through a brilliant Neymar goal is everything you admire in that team. They started slowly, finishing second in a group Morocco topped, they have proven their worth, and Argentina must be careful.
How will they line up? Croatia will like to sit back and hit on the counter but what is their contingency plan against Lionel Messi? They coped against many superstars in the Brazil team, so how do they manage only one celebrity nuisance?
Argentina must be humble, they can do their business in regular time or risk facing the magic of Dominic Livanovic and if history is anything to go by, it’s never easy. Of course, the Albiceleste has Emiliano Martinez to trust on penalties too but is that what they want?
Angel Di Maria and Alvarez should be of help to Messi in the semifinals but they must take their chances when they get them. Croatia can be resolute, they made the semis last time out in 2018 and beat England to hit the final, do you think they want to lose?
Argentina is clearly the favorite here but again; they cannot be complacent. This is a huge opportunity for Messi and co to have another shot at the World Cup trophy, game management, discipline and attention to everything happening all game long is key.