Argentina and Croatia have met eight times, with three matches taking place during this World Cup tournament alone. Argentina have won four times against Croatia three wins while one match ended up a draw - they will face off again this Sunday as one of Group H's pivotal clashes.
Since 1994, Argentina and Croatia have also competed in three friendly matches; Argentina won four while Croatia split three victories with losses. This page includes key statistics from this match between them such as shots taken, passing accuracy rates, total shots attempted etc to allow you to compare and see who holds an edge before kick-off begins. Daniele Orsato from Italy served as referee; to date, he has officiated at six World Cup matches including this one.
Argentina and Croatia meet in an all-or-nothing World Cup semi-final that promises to be intense. Both teams are coming off nail-biting quarter-final matches that were decided on penalties, leaving both physically and emotionally exhausted ahead of this crucial battle.
Messi opened the scoring for Argentina from the penalty spot in 34 minutes before Alvarez added his own goal for La Albiceleste shortly thereafter.
Argentina and Croatia meet once more in an intense semi-final that should prove riveting and thrilling. Leo Messi's star power will certainly shine, while La Albiceleste boasts a host of talented players such as Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister who may make an impression showing.
Lionel Scaloni may revert to his 3-5-2 formation following the penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands. Angel Di Maria and Julian Alvarez will likely flank Lionel Messi. Alvarez races onto a lofted ball and beats Lovren before his shot is saved by Livakovic for 1-0. What an incredible run!
Argentina is led by coach Lionel Scaloni and boasts an array of talented players led by Barcelona star Lionel Messi. As the top-ranked side in the world, they will look to maintain their success when facing Croatia on Wednesday.
The last time Argentina and Croatia met at a World Cup group stage match, Argentina prevailed by defeating Croatia 3-2. Since then, both teams have had stellar seasons; Argentina won four out of their five matches this year while Croatia took three.
Both sides are likely to score in this match-up; Argentina has scored in all their home matches this year and has netted nine times over their last five matches, while Croatia has been involved in three out of the last five BTTS-laden games.
Argentina and Croatia have both shown excellent defensive discipline, conceding only one goal against the Netherlands during this matchup. That being said, both teams will need to find ways to create chances to prevail in this contest.
Argentina remains the favourite to win this match despite competing in an exceptionally difficult group. Their defense has been strong while their attack has also been strong. On the other hand, Croatia can be dangerous: their midfielders have been exceptional and created many chances over recent games; moreover, they boast an outstanding goalkeeper like Dominik Livakovic; in fact, they scored more goals than their opponents during previous World Cup matches and are undefeated with an outstanding shot at making it into the final.
Croatia are hoping to take control of this match and improve their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages. They currently sit third in their group with nine points, six behind Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina respectively; winning could put them above those two teams and give them an edge against any remaining contestants in the group.
Croatia's defence will also face a stiff test during this game; they have conceded five goals over their previous four matches and hope to keep that tally down against an Argentina side that has scored at least twice in each victory so far.
Argentina's forward line has also proven dangerous. They have established a solid connection with each other and can quickly move the ball across the pitch. Led by one of the greatest players ever seen on an athletic field - Lionel Messi has led this Argentina side and scored at least once in every win!
Messi was instrumental in Argentina's opening goal. He beat two defenders with an extraordinary run, before setting up Julian Alvarez for close range scoring from close range. It was an extraordinary display of skill from Argentina forward who displayed their finest side.
On December 11 at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar, Croatia and Argentina will meet in their 2022 World Cup second semi-final match, both teams are top contenders to reach the final and this game could decide the outcome of their campaigns. Argentina has an experienced squad which should help prevent another late equalizer as they saw against the Netherlands during the 2014 World Cup quarter-final match which led to penalties defeat.
Croatia has plenty of talent in their squad and will look to play a tactically disciplined match, with plenty of possession. Their goal will be to score as many goals as possible while exploiting any errors committed by Argentina.
Both teams are taking their time adjusting, yet Argentina looks dangerous in the final third and has had chances to break through defences.
Argentina have begun their assault by winning free kicks on both wings. Enzo makes an attempt at going behind their defence, but Livakovic saves it and saves Argentina's penalty kick attempt. They look confident as they ping their ball around the edge of the box.
Kovacic earned a corner kick on the right with some exquisite link play and it was soon cleared away by his teammates.
Dybala almost runs past all ten million Croatia defenders to set himself up with an individual opportunity but blasts wide his shot, having been held back by Gvardiol's dribbling.
The first half was marred by some serious fouls that significantly slowed the game down. Daniele Orsato from Italy has kept a watchful eye on both teams throughout this matchup and kept both under close observation by monitoring each one closely.
As Argentina vies to secure their spot in the World Cup Final, this match promises to be intense. Both teams have much to prove - Leo Messi leads Argentina while Croatia has never experienced defeat at this stage of competition and wants to make history.
Lionel Scaloni made changes to his team for Friday's penalty shootout win against the Netherlands and may alter it further here. Angel Di Maria may return to his regular spot in the XI, with Julian Alvarez starting on either flank alongside Lionel Messi. Both fullbacks, Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna remain unavailable.
Messi has much to prove in this semifinal and must bring his A-game if they wish to avoid an early exit from the tournament. His talent must be showcased against an experienced and determined Croatian side.
These two sides have met five times in history, most recently during group stage play at the 2014 World Cup where Croatia prevailed 3-0 to secure their maiden victory over Argentina at any major international competition.
Argentina: Total Shots
Argentina had five shots on target but none hit their intended mark throughout the match, struggling to create and only showing signs of danger when in possession of the ball in the final third. They struggled to adapt to Croatia's movement and speed, and frequently found themselves caught off-guard when their defence was caught off-guard by unexpected moves by Croatia's players.
Aguero provided Argentina with their best chance in the 27th minute when his shot went narrowly wide of goal, followed by Messi aiming a free-kick at Kalinic who save it well before Ansaldi hit an unstoppable low shot past Lovren's goalkeeper to draw them level shortly thereafter.
As the game entered its closing stages, both sides had chances to take the lead, yet neither could find their desired goal. Extra time ensued when Dayot Upamecano made an outstanding block against Lautaro Martinez's shot - leading to victory for her side!
Argentina put forth an admirable performance, yet still has some concerns. Rodrigo De Paul was an asset while Guido Rodriguez and Lautaro Martinez failed to step up their performances and advance to the final. If Argentina is to advance, they must improve if they want to reach it.
Extra time has begun and both teams have had opportunities to score. Argentina have played well under pressure so far and created some openings. Messi has not looked himself but still tried his best with some decent passes to help his side out.
Croatia are trying to gain ground, but their crosses are misfiring. Modric had an attempt from outside the box blocked by Otamendi, before misplacing an opportunity that could have created havoc for Argentina.
Argentina is currently dominating this match on spot kicks and looks like winning it without needing penalties to do it. Lionel Scaloni has scored all four of his penalty kicks while Croatia have yet to convert any. As a result, we will see another World Cup semi-final between these two nations in Russia this summer.
Croatia: Total Shots
Argentina's defensive frailty was exposed in the previous round when they conceded two goals against an impressive Netherlands side, yet they have an opportunity to rebound with a victory against Croatia and advance into the World Cup semi-finals.
As expected, it begins in a rather scrappy fashion, with both teams misplacing passes and searching for that crucial breakaway goal. Croatia however seems adept at keeping possession and creating chances.
Luka Modric has tried his hardest to gain the upper hand against Enzo Martinez from Real Madrid but the former Real Madrid star is keeping tabs on him and easily saved a free kick for Croatia that was taken.
Messi almost ran past all the Croatian defenders to set up an opportunity with Room, but his effort went wide and another free kick from Croatia is quickly cleared away by their team's defence.
Enzo does well to take down a high ball but it's easily cleared for a goal kick. Messi then plays an intricate one-two with Gonzalez but his shot goes over the bar.
Croatia attempted a fast counter-attack but De Paul fouled their player, making the free kick easy to save. A long throw into Argentina's box is then launched but blocked by its defenders.
The hosts have created some half chances with some nice touches and no-look passing, yet are failing to turn these opportunities into clear-cut opportunities. Modric was taken down by Sosa with an outstanding tackle before having his free kick blocked! That was close!
Messi nearly scored in the 23rd minute when he used his signature move of swivelling to create space before firing an effort inches wide of the post. Later in the match, he attempted a shot on target from distance in the 39th minute but it was saved by Kalinic.
At times in the first half, both teams seemed wary of each other like two nervous dogs meeting for the first time. But things finally opened up in the final minutes with Aguero shooting narrowly wide before scoring an equaliser via controversial means.
After extra time and penalty shootouts, Argentina eventually ended 2-2 after extra time. Emiliano Martinez of Argentina then saved two of Croatia's penalties during penalty shootouts to send their Albiceleste into the semi-finals for four straight times and face either Germany or Belgium on Sunday at Lusail Stadium in Sunday's final; both will hope to become tournament champions for the first time; last time these sides met was ended by Argentina winning 1-0 in extra time.
Argentina: Passing Accuracy
Argentina was dangerous as they attacked Croatia early on in the game, but the Croats managed to withstand their attacks by keeping possession and creating few chances. Finally, Croatia took the lead with a stunning first-half strike from Domagoj Antolic that put them ahead; Argentina pursued them hard but couldn't close enough on goal for an equaliser.
Argentina had been able to regroup during the break, finding their attacking groove and appearing more dangerous and in control of the game; however, they struggled to create clear-cut chances and were caught unawares by Croatia's outstanding counterattacks.
Antolic made use of his left-wing positioning and delivered a perfectly executed cross, reaching Sharbini at the edge of the box who finished magnificently into the bottom corner. Rijeka midfielder Sharbini displayed great artistry when making this shot count!
Argentina again launched an attack, only for it to be quickly shut down by Croatia's well-organized defence. And this pattern repeated itself throughout the second half, with Argentina finding themselves with little time or space to play forward and finding it increasingly difficult to break through their opponent's strong defence.
Both teams found it difficult to hold onto possession and create clear-cut chances in this strange spectacle of a matchup, leaving few teams looking comfortable on the ball throughout.
Argentina is known to be among the best teams at scoring goals, which comes as no surprise given that Lionel Messi plays on their squad. Unfortunately, however, their passing accuracy may be inferior which may explain why they have yet to break down Croatia successfully in this tournament.
Romero had to work hard at the other end to keep Modric at bay; he saved one shot from inside the box while also blocking another one from Modric, but could not prevent Alvarez's stunning free-kick from striking the bar.
Lionel Messi remains Argentina's primary match-winner and key to reaching the final. Unfortunately, their defensive system wasn't designed to deal with Messi and Julian Alvarez leading their frontline; thus leaving themselves open to being punished come Tuesday when Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni may switch back to the traditional 4-3-3 formation with Angel Di Maria and Julian Alvarez flanking Messi while fullbacks Marco Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel will miss out due to suspension; Nicolas Tagliafico set to step in as substitute.
Croatia: Passing Accuracy
Croatia have struggled with passing accuracy at the World Cup, but their direct play is very dangerous. They completed 71 long passes - fourth highest total - as well as being one of the top teams when it comes to forward passes - creating multiple chances through passing and keeping possession in transition very successfully.
Argentina is keeping possession for as long as possible while looking to create more chances through crosses. Furthermore, Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic has made some impressive saves at this tournament and this means Argentina will need to remain patient as they search for ways to break down their defence.
Australia, on the other hand, have been far more aggressive with their attacking play and has created several chances in each of their first two matches. Their pace makes transitions seamless while they have also found good positions down either wing. Overall, they excelled at moving the ball through all three lines quickly.
However, it will be extremely challenging for them to keep this form going against a tough Croatian side. They should be able to hold their own in the middle of the park while being an incredible threat when going forward; using counterattacking play as well as counterattacking tactics to exploit holes behind defences and score goals - their defence has proven itself reliable thus far and should contain Australians successfully.
Modric misplaces another pass in an attempt to make the game more engaging, yet is struggling. He makes numerous passes which don't go where they should. Though his final third performance has improved over his performance against Brazil.
Argentine defence is holding onto the ball well, which should help them preserve their lead. Croatian attack is tiring and not creating many openings - their best chances coming via crosses against this Argentina side.
Argentina: Goal Scorer
Argentina entered this semifinal as the only team without losing at the World Cup and has conceded just two goals throughout. They look to exact revenge after their shocking group stage loss to Saudi Arabia and will aim to beat Croatia, another unbeaten side who have conceded just two goals total.
Lionel Scaloni made three changes for Argentina's quarter-final win against the Netherlands, including Angel Di Maria, Juan Alvarez and Julian Perez all coming into his side. Fullbacks Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna had been suspended; therefore, Nicolas Tagliafico filled their roles.
Croatia is applying pressure early on the Argentine defence with some direct passing from Modric and Pasalic on the left, yet their first goal attempt comes via a free-kick that misses.
Emi Martinez makes an important save to deny Croatia an out-swinging long throw before Modric and Kramaric engage in some delightful interplay that leads to another corner being earned for the European side.
Argentina is poised to start the second half in style as they clear the corner kick and push hard through the centre of the pitch to shoot crosses at the Croatian goalkeeper.
Messi remains a threat as he searches for an opening to enter the middle of the park, twisting and turning Gvardiol like a house of mirrors. Manchester United midfielder Alexis Sanchez eventually found space on the right flank but his cross was blocked, leading to a goal kick.
Messi attempts a free-kick in the 53rd minute but is denied by Kalinic's heroic save. Messi then exchanges passes with Ansaldi before unleashing a shot into the side-netting.
Ansaldi was fouled near the edge of the box and referee Orsato awarded a penalty kick, with Messi taking it. Unfortunately, his shot failed to hit its target and instead flew high over the crossbar.
Croatia: Goal Scorer
After an uneventful first half at Lusail Stadium, Argentina burst out with an intense second-half performance at Lusail that ultimately changed the outcome of this match. Lionel Scaloni's side returned to their familiar 4-4-2 formation and quickly started dominating through one-touch passing among multiple players.
Argentina's defence is effectively neutralizing Croatia's forwards by controlling possession and probing at defensive lines. Furthermore, their players are looking out for counterattacks and looking to capitalize on any errors made by their opposition.
Enzo Fernandez threads his way to Rodrigo de Paul on the left wing before running towards the edge of the box and drilling a shot wide of the right post, sending Argentina fans wild while Croatia fans remain calm.
Kalinic saves from Aguero and Messi at the other end, though Messi made one final attempt before halftime to bend one past the wall but unfortunately, his attempt flew inches over the bar.
Argentina breaks free and moves up a gear, with Alvarez playing Leandro Paredes into the box where he spins before firing over. Alexis MacAllister and Julian Alvarez come on for Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul, to which the crowd at Lusail Stadium responds enthusiastically with loud applause for Argentina's changes.
Argentina will look to capitalize on Croatia's loss to Nigeria by winning four out of their five matches so far in this tournament, with Lionel Messi scoring twice in every victory.
Argentina began their match against Croatia with confidence and quickly created opportunities. Aguero curled a shot just wide of goal and then attempted a free-kick; both times Kalinic made crucial saves to deny Argentina.
In the 27th minute, Messi and Paredes shared an exquisite one-touch passing sequence which culminated with him trying to shoot through a crowd of players but his attempt went over the bar. Later, Kramaric attempted to get behind Argentina on the left but was stopped by Otamendi; once in behind the Croatian fullback Kramaric attempted to pass to Modric but his touch proved too heavy and forced him away in frustration.
Argentina came back out firing after halftime, with Nahuel Molina's cutback finding Mac Allister, whose misfire managed to sneak past Szczesny and send Stadium 974 into a frenzy of excitement. It was Brighton player Mac Allister's maiden international goal; further cementing his stellar season having led his club in scoring this year.
The match was played at an intense pace, resulting in both teams receiving several yellow cards throughout. For the Netherlands, Virgil van Dijk was booked first while Messi and Angel di Maria each received bookings during the second half.
Both sides had multiple opportunities to score during extra time but neither side managed it. Van Dijk had his shot blocked by Otamendi while Messi saw his spinner deflect wide of goal. Emi Martinez had to come into play again as well to save a penalty from Berghuis.
After extra time had ended, both teams remained composed for penalties to decide the game. Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic received cautions before kicks began but avoided red cards by making crucial saves that kept Argentina alive in extra time; eventually winning 4-2 on regular time and 5-3 in penalties to advance into the semifinals.
The last time these teams faced, their encounter ended in an exciting 2-2 tie that went to extra time, before Argentina took the lead and won in penalties with Emiliano Martinez saving two shots. Argentina will look for revenge this time as they play Croatia at Lusail Stadium; both teams will be eager to claim victory here.
Beginning the game slowly and cautiously, both teams tentatively assess each other like wary dogs that haven't seen each other in years. Argentina dominates possession but can't seem to find their killer instinct.
Modric commits an offensive foul against Messi and the Barcelona player steps up to take the free kick, hitting it well enough to challenge the Croatian goalkeeper but was easily saved. Argentina continues their pressuring as Dybala nearly runs through ten million Croatia defenders to set himself up with one on one with the goalkeeper but gets pulled away at the last second.
But the second half was when things heated up. Messi stepped up to take a penalty after Alvarez beat Lovren to pace and patched onto the ball; when Croatian goalkeeper Savic tried to stop him but ended up taking him out himself; the Man City striker took advantage of this situation to take a shot which went past Livakovic for Argentina to take an early advantage in the match.
Five minutes later and Alvarez doubles their advantage when he rides several challenges to enter the box; from there he plays a pass that De Paul finishes off and scores to stun Croatia's defence - this game is shaping up into something truly great!