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Argentina vs Croatia World Cup lineups

Following their exploits at the 2018 World Cup, it was hard to envisage Argentina and Croatia meeting at the semifinal stage four years on.Argentina vs Croatia World Cup lineups

Zlatko Dalic’s men made it all the way to the final in Russia, losing 4-2 to France, and that felt like a one-time achievement for a European nation with a population of 3.9 million.

But Croatia have once again shown their big-tournament pedigree, battling to penalty-shootout wins over Japan and Brazil.

Their previous World Cup encounter with Argentina was nowhere near as close as they romped to a 3-0 group-stage win over Jorge Sampaoli’s chaotic incarnation of the Albiceleste.

Successor Lionel Scaloni has restored pride in his national team and has Lionel Messi on course for a farewell World Cup triumph on the back of belatedly tasting glory at last year’s Copa America.

Below are the projected lineups for both teams based on the latest news leading up to the match at Lusail Stadium.

Argentina vs Croatia lineups

Perhaps understandably, Scaloni does not wish to place too much weight upon that previous encounter in Nizhny Novgorod, where Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic got the goals.

“We expect a tough match and it’s against a really good team. They are a proper team, they play as a team and they will make things challenging,” he told his pre-match news conference.

“I don’t think we can go into comparisons with the previous World Cup but I am convinced they are a really good team. It will be a tough game. Croatia have a specific style and I don’t think they will change that.”

Argentina have been backed by incredible support in Qatar and tens of thousands more fans are making the trip in the tournament’s final week.

Getty Images

“All Argentinians are hopeful. We play for all of our people,” Scaloni said.

“We are so appreciative of the Argentina fans, we know how much it costs to come all the way over here. We know what is expected of us.”

As Morocco prepare to take on France in the other semifinal, Dalic believes his side have served as inspiration to teams from outside football’s traditionally elite nations.

“The Croatia national team four years ago made a dream a reality for all small countries. We gave those countries the right to have those dreams,” he said.

“Four years ago, nobody expected Croatia to reach the final. They have been encouraged by our fight and our quality.”

Argentina projected starting 11

(4-3-3): 23. Martinez (GK) — 26. Molina, 13. Romero, 19. Otamendi, 3. Tagliafico — 7. De Paul, 24. Fernandez, 20. Mac Allister — 9. Alvarez, 10. Messi, 11. Di Maria

  • Injured:
  • Suspended: Marcos Acuna, Gonzalo Montiel

Scaloni switched to a 3-5-2 setup versus the Netherlands to match Louis van Gaal’s formation but he is expected to revert to his favoured 4-3-3 against Croatia, with the battle for midfield supremacy key.

Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic present a tricky proposition for any side in world football and Scaloni will be pondering whether to reintroduce Leandro Parades in a bid to find more control in central areas.

However, an erratic substitute appearance that featured the Paris Saint-Germain man smashing the ball into the Netherlands dugout and nearly sparking a mass brawl means it’s hard to make a case for him being an overly calming presence.

Angel Di Maria returned from a thigh injury as a late substitute and Scaloni will give one of Messi’s longest-standing teammates every opportunity to feature from kickoff.

Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel are suspended after collecting their second bookings of the tournament. Acuna will be replaced at left-back by Nicolas Tagliafico.

Croatia projected starting 11

(4-3-3): 1. Livakovic (GK) — 22. Juranovic, 6. Lovren, 20. Gvardiol, 19. Sosa — 10. Modric, 11. Brozovic, 8. Kovacic — 15. Pasalic, 9. Kramaric, 4. Perisic

  • Injured: None.
  • Suspended: None.

Unlike Argentina, Croatia didn’t pick up any suspensions from their quarterfinal win against Brazil. Aside from the obvious wear and tear of going 120 minutes once again, Dalic has no specific fitness concerns.

Substitute Bruno Petkovic scored the equaliser against Brazil and was set up by Mislav Orsic, who similarly produced a lively cameo from the bench. If either freshens up the forward line, Mario Pasalic would be the most likely to make way.

Argentina vs Croatia World Cup squads

Here are the names on the Argentina and Croatia World Cup squads in Qatar. (Caps and stats correct as of start of the tournament).

Argentina World Cup squad

Position Player Club Age Caps
Goalkeeper Franco Armani River Plate (ARG) 36 18
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez Aston Villa (ENG) 30 19
Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli Villarreal (SPA) 30 4
Defender Marcos Acuna Sevilla (SPA) 30 43
Defender Juan Foyth Villarreal (SPA) 24 16
Defender Lisandro Martinez Man United (ENG) 24 10
Defender Nahuel Molina Atletico Madrid (SPA) 24 19
Defender Gonzalo Montiel Sevilla (SPA) 25 19
Defender Nicolas Otamendi Benfica (POR) 34 93
Defender German Pezzella Real Betis (SPA) 31 32
Defender Cristian Romero Tottenham (ENG) 24 12
Defender Nicolas Tagliafico Lyon (FRA) 30 42
Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul Atletico Madrid (SPA) 28 44
Midfielder Enzo Fernandez Benfica (POR) 21 3
Midfielder Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez Sevilla (SPA) 34 15
Midfielder Alexis Mac Allister Brighton (ENG) 23 8
Midfielder Exequiel Palacios Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 24 20
Midfielder Leandro Paredes Juventus (ITA) 28 46
Midfielder Guido Rodriguez Real Betis (SPA) 28 26
Forward Julian Alvarez Man City (ENG) 22 12
Forward Thiago Almada** Atlanta United (USA) 21 1
Forward Angel Di Maria Juventus (ITA) 34 124
Forward Paulo Dybala AS Roma (ITA) 28 34
Forward Angel Correa* Atletico Madrid 25 22
Forward Lautaro Martinez Inter Milan (ITA) 25 40
Forward Lionel Messi PSG (FRA) 35 165

*Replaced the injured Nicolas Gonzalez

**Replaced the injured Joaquin Correa

Croatia World Cup squad

Position Player Club Age Caps
Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 27 33
Goalkeeper Ivo Grbic Atletico Madrid (SPA) 26 2
Goalkeeper Ivica Ivusic Osijek (CRO) 27 5
Defender Josip Stanisic Bayern Munich (GER) 22 6
Defender Borna Barisic Rangers (SCO) 29 27
Defender Martin Erlic Sassuolo (ITA) 24 3
Defender Dejan Lovren Zenit St Petersburg (ITA) 33 71
Defender Borna Sosa VfB Stuttgart (GER) 24 8
Defender Josko Gvardiol RB Leipzig (GER) 20 12
Defender Domagoj Vida AEK Athens (GRE) 33 99
Defender Josip Juranovic Celtic (SCO) 27 21
Defender Josip Sutalo Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 22 3
Midfielder Lovro Majer Rennes (FRA) 24 10
Midfielder Mateo Kovacic Chelsea (ENG) 28 83
Midfielder Luka Modric Real Madrid (SPA) 37 154
Midfielder Luka Sucic RB Salzburg (AUS) 20 3
Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic Inter Milan (ITA) 29 76
Midfielder Nikola Vlasic Torino (ITA) 25 41
Midfielder Mario Pasalic Atalanta (ITA) 27 42
Midfielder Ivan Perisic Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 33 115
Midfielder Kristijan Jakic Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 25 4
Forward Andrej Kramaric Hoffenheim (GER) 31 73
Forward Marko Livaja Hadjuk Split (CRO) 29 14
Forward Bruno Petkovic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 28 22
Forward Ante Budimir Osasuna (ENG) 31 15
Forward Mislav Orsic Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 29 20


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