Argentina vs Croatia - World Cup semi-final: Team news, lineups & prediction

Grey Whitebloom
Lionel Messi and Luka Modric go head-to-head in the World Cup semi-final
Lionel Messi and Luka Modric go head-to-head in the World Cup semi-final / Sebastian Frej/MB Media | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Argentina host Croatia on Tuesday evening in a World Cup semi-final between the competition's last two silver-medallists.

Both nations endured physically and emotionally draining quarter-finals which were sent to penalties by a late equaliser. Argentina managed to recover from the shock of a quick-fire Dutch double to win on spot-kicks - unlike their South American rivals Brazil. Croatia extended their 100% record to five successive shootouts at the expense of the Selecao.

This is a meeting between two camps which have expertly harnessed any whisper of a negative comment - however seemingly harmless it may sound to a neutral - to galvanise the team this tournament.

Here's everything you need to know about what promises to be a spellbinding - and spiky - semi-final that could go all the way.

Where are Argentina vs Croatia playing?

  • Location: Al Daayen, Qatar
  • Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium
  • Date: Tuesday 13 December
  • Kick-off time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 ET / 11:00 PT

Argentina vs Croatia H2H Results (All Time)

  • Argentina: 2 Wins
  • Croatia: 2 Wins
  • Draws: 1

Current Form (Last Five Games)

  • Argentina: LWWWW
  • Croatia: DWDWW

Argentina team news

There were fears that Rodrigo De Paul would miss the quarter-final with the Netherlands through injury which both the manager, Lionel Scaloni, and the player himself vehemently dismissed. De Paul lasted for 66 minutes before he was replaced by Leandro Paredes.

A record-breaking 18 cards were dished out in Argentina's full-blooded final-eight encounter. Given that tally, it's impressive that only two of Scaloni's players are suspended. Fullbacks Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will sit out the meeting with Croatia.

Argentina predicted lineup vs Croatia

Argentina Starting 11 (4-3-3): E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez.
Bench: Armani, Rulli, Li Martinez, Pezzella, Foyth, Paredes, Rodriguez, Palacios, Almada, Gomez, Correa, Dybala, La Martinez.

Croatia team news

Four players went into Croatia's quarter-final one caution away from a suspension - including the instrumental midfielders Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic - but managed to walk the disciplinary tightrope. Zlatko Dalic is expected to have a fully fit and available squad to select from.

Croatia predicted lineup vs Argentina

Croatia Starting 11 (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Petkovic, Perisic.
Bench: Grbic, Ivusic, Sutalo, Vida, Erlic, Barisic, Stanisic, Jakic, Sucic, Majer, Vlasic, Orsic, Livaja, Pasalic, Budimir.

Argentina vs Croatia betting tips

Lionel Messi
Argentina sealed their place in the semis in dramatic circumstances / Simon M Bruty/GettyImages

Match result

Draw – Argentina’s last two World Cup semi-finals have ended as draws, while Croatia have drawn six of their last nine World Cup games, including the last three.

Argentina to win and score twice – Argentina’s last four wins at the World Cup have seen them score exactly two goals, including all three wins at the 2022 tournament.

Both teams to score – Both teams have scored in eight of Croatia’s last 10 matches at the World Cup, while Argentina have both scored and conceded in five of their last seven World Cup games.

Both teams to score is currently 6/5*

Team to progress

Croatia to progress on penalties – Croatia have won all four of their World Cup penalty shootouts,
with four of their last six knockout matches going to penalties.

Argentina to progress – Argentina have progressed from all four of their World Cup semi-finals, doing so in 1930, 1986, 1990 and 2014.


Lionel Messi to score first – Six of Lionel Messi’s last eight goals at the World Cup have been the
opening goal of the game.

Lionel Messi to score first is currently 3/1*

Lionel Messi goal or assist – Lionel Messi has either scored (4) or assisted (4) eight of Argentina’s last 11 goals at the World Cup and has both scored and assisted in two of his last four games.

Lionel Messi to have 5+ shots – Lionel Messi has had at least five shots in each of his last three
matches in the World Cup (7 vs Poland, 6 vs Australia, 6 vs Netherlands).

Insights courtesy of Opta. Head to The Analyst Stats Hub for live group stage standings, top scores, match metrics, team stats and much more!

*Odds correct at time of publication. 18+. Please gamble responsibly.

Argentina vs Croatia score prediction

Argentina's late implosion against the Netherlands was not the first lead they have ceded in Qatar. In their opening game, the Albiceleste went 1-0 up against Saudi Arabia before a five-minute burst produced the first shock of an upset-riddled tournament. Even against Australia, it got a little hairy in stoppage time.

Croatia are not a side to skittishly hold a lead against. "We have incredible strength," Dalic defiantly declared after his team overturned Brazil's advantage. "We shall not surrender.” In each of their last six World Cup knockout matches, straddling this year and 2018, Croatia have fallen behind, coming back to advance in five of those games. The final against France is the only blemish on this miraculous Lazarus effect.

Nevertheless, an Argentina side spearheaded by a highly motivated Lionel Messi is the favourite going into this semi-final - though that's just the way Croatia like it. Dalic's underdogs undoubtedly have the determination - and talent - to dig out another result against the odds but it's not the most likely outcome.

Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Croatia