Argentina’s shootout meets Croatia’s brilliant determination

The 22nd World Cup is coming to an end. on Sunday evening We will get our champions. But, of course, there are few more twists and turns in a tournament that is more dramatic than the Eastenders bus.

The group stage was fun. full of bad mood and good games that amazes us

Often times, major tournaments start intensely and then slowly progress. Sink into tactical cracks as the stakes rise in the knockout rounds. But we have four good playoffs. Each show was full of tension and talking points.

Maybe the quality is not so high. But who needs quality when you take penalties and shootouts?

Which brings us to Tuesday night’s first semi-final: Argentina v Croatia.

Croatia is a team to watch. Having reached the World Cup finals four years ago, they are back in the bottom four thanks to their technical excellence. impressive strength and overwhelming flexibility

Luka Modric, a long-lived player, has once again decked out his brilliant career with great tournaments, but there are plenty of great performers around him.

Josko Gvardiol [above] is regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in the world. The RB Leipzig 20-year-old has every top club in the world chasing him. He was extraordinary – a calm and aggressive leader.

However, the extremely vicious Dejan Lovren shone silently beside him. Lovren moved from Liverpool to Zenit St. Petersburg two years ago and, despite his flaws, he’s still a big player. But it must be said that until now he was flawless.

Players like Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic provide a strong and experienced backbone, while Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic has the eye on his performances. Not the least of which he defeated Brazil’s Vinicius Jnr.

Croatia needed extra time and penalties to beat both Japan and Brazil, but boss Zlatko Dalic insists fatigue was not a factor. They have their tails up – and believe they can go all the way.

“The semi-final against England at the last World Cup was the greatest of all time. The game against Brazil came second,” he said.

“If we win tomorrow That will make it the greatest Croatian game of all time.”

“It is one of the most important and important matches for us. After only 4 years, to repeat the success It will be a great success on the world stage with a new national team that is fantastic. And I believe it’s a great achievement.”

“We are one of the four best teams in the world. That is an extraordinary achievement for Croatia. It’s great for two World Cups in a row to be among the country’s best four teams.

“We want more. We are playing against the great Argentina. A great team led by Lionel Messi, they are highly motivated and under more pressure than Croatia at the moment.

“I’m an optimist by nature. I trust my players They have demonstrated a high level of quality. character strength Because we wouldn’t have made it to the semi-finals without that. We will not change the way we play.

“My pride has no limits. the sky is the limit Everyone has a dream And my dream is to be the head coach of the country. But I never dreamed of such a thing.”

To paraphrase Mike Tyson, everyone had a plan until Messi punched him in the mouth. His genius was distilled into a deadly ingredient that could crush opponents in the blink of an eye. That’s the precision a great man has. He would often walk around the game before judging them with just a few seconds of brilliance.

Argentina will need Messi to think something special again against Croatia.

After the quarter-final against the Netherlands in which Argentina conceded a 2-goal lead and then won by scoring. Messi said “We suffered too much. It’s a very difficult game. We rely on it on the pitch for the people and Diego Maradona is watching us from heaven. He pushed us to the end.

“Croatia is a very difficult opponent. They have great players. They know themselves very well. They have the same coach since the last World Cup. And it’s a World Cup semi-final, it’s going to be tough.

A record-breaking 18 cards were dealt in Argentina’s clash with the Dutch. Full-back Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel were both suspended for the semi-finals, but manager Lionel Scaloni will be relieved that some of his underlings haven’t seen red. because of things really good and boiling

Even Messi was upset. Exchanged words with Louis van Gaal and his assistant Edgar Davids at the full-time whistle.

Croatia have four players suspended, one suspended for facing each other in the last eight, with Brazil, Modric and Kovacic among them. All four of them made it through without getting a yellow card, so Dalic has quite a full squad at his disposal.

the day before the race Scaloni is philosophical about Argentina’s chances. “Sometimes luck is on your side. If we do a good job We will have an easier path to reach our goals. But this is football, this is sport, so sometimes the best teams don’t win,” he said.

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When asked about the criticism that guided the player’s behavior after the victory over the Netherlands, Scaloni added: “Previous games played the way we had to play… that is football

“Sometimes things like arguments can happen. But that’s all. That’s why there are referees.

“We have to put an end to the idea that Argentina act like this. We lost to Saudi Arabia and said nothing.”

“We won the Copa. America in Brazil and experienced the most sporting behavior from Messi, [Leandro] Paredes, Neymar, who all sat together in the tunnel in Maracana. I am not convinced of this concept of inappropriate behavior.”

This will be a game of fire and ice. Passionate Argentines are driven by overwhelming support by joining a highly experienced team of canny operators. Don’t be surprised if you judge by scoring again.

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