Just two wins, that’s all that it will take to lift the World Cup title. One of Argentina or Croatia can book their places in the final which felt like an unlikely proposition after the start of the World Cup. Argentina have bounced back from an upset loss to Saudi Arabia while Croatia are establishing themselves as one of the most consistent teams in the world.
Both teams needed penalty victories to get here so while they’re confident if the matches go to extra time, the hope is that they don’t need another 120 minutes of soccer to progress to the next round. Lionel Messi is pushing to attain the one trophy that he doesn’t already possess, and this year Lionel Scaloni and Argentina have the supporting cast to help him do it. But standing in the way is Luka Modric and a Croatia team that won’t go down easily.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
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How to watch and odds
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 13 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Lusail Ionic Stadium — Lusail, Qatar
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: Argentina -128; Draw +285; Croatia +375 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Argentina: Lionel Scaloni will need to replace Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel who are both suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Acuna has started four of Argentina’s five matches at left back but Nicolas Tagliafico will be the likely deputy in his stead. A good passer, Tagliafico can bring a dynamic presence to the Argentina attack. They will also be boosted by the return of Angel Di Maria, who was only fit enough to enter at the end of the match against the Netherlands. Everything will hinge on Messi pulling the strings but if he can’t add to his four goals and two assists, Argentina have other players who can make Croatia pay.
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Croatia: Dominik Livankovic and Dejan Lovern have repelled everything that has come their way in defense but with a Luka Modric led midfield, most of the sting has been taken out of attacks by the time that it gets to the defense. It will be tough for Argentina to contain Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic. But if Croatia’s attack won’t get free space, that won’t matter. That’s where Ivan Perisic comes in. The 33-year-old has been critical to springing attackers and winning possession in the attacking third. If he can disrupt the Argentina back line, there will be a good chance to win the match.
There will be chances for both sides during the match, but the defenses are too good to allow clear shots before tired legs set in in extra time. Eventually one mistake will lead to an Argentina victory. Pick: Argentina 1, Croatia 0 (After extra time)