Doha, Qatar – Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Monday mentioned his crew expects a troublesome World Cup semifinal sport towards Croatia, after the South American facet’s exhausting and emotionally charged quarterfinal win over the Netherlands.
La Albiceleste, as Argentina’s facet are identified, will tackle the Valtreni, the Croatian crew, on the 89,000-capacity Lusail Stadium on Tuesday at 10pm (19:00 GMT) for a spot within the last.
“We count on a troublesome match and it’s towards a extremely good crew. They’re a correct crew they usually play as a crew,” Scaloni informed reporters in a pre-match convention in Doha. “They will make issues difficult for us.”
“They’ve a selected enjoying type. I don’t assume they’ll change that. It’s neither defensive nor attacking,” the previous Argentine nationwide crew participant mentioned. “They’ve superb gamers. They usually have a long-lasting soccer custom.”
“We’ve got our system and our type. We gained’t change our type. We all know they’ve glorious gamers. They’ve players that can hurt us. I gained’t point out names,” Scaloni added.
Argentina haven’t had the best of routes to the semifinals. They had been shocked by Saudi Arabia of their opening match, dropping 2-1 to the Inexperienced Falcons. However they’ve upped their performances after the shock upset.
Since their opening sport defeat, the South Individuals have solely conceded three targets in 4 matches. Towards the Netherlands within the quarterfinals, they had been 2-0 up after a Lionel Messi penalty. A superb defence-splitting go from the Argentine captain had earlier set Nahuel Molina up for the primary objective.
However the Netherlands launched an unlikely comeback, scoring two targets within the dying minutes of the sport — their equaliser got here within the tenth minute of added time.
The feisty sport, which noticed 17 gamers receiving yellow playing cards, went into additional time earlier than the South Individuals gained 4-3 on penalties. Two-time champions Argentina will hope to keep away from a repeat towards opponents who’ve mastered the artwork of taking video games deep and profitable in additional time or penalty shootouts. Croatia have gained 5 of their final six World Cup knockout video games — in every case by taking the match past 90 minutes.
“We belief (Emiliano) Martinez a lot,” Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico mentioned. “However we will by no means be too calm no matter having a extremely good goalkeeper.”
“You possibly can apply penalty shootouts however as soon as you’re on the pitch with hundreds of followers and feelings operating excessive it isn’t the identical,” he mentioned.
The 2 groups have locked horns 5 instances beforehand, with both sides selecting up two wins and the fifth sport ending in a draw. That features two encounters on the World Cup.
In 1998, Argentina beat Croatia 1-0. Twenty years later, in 2018, Croatia obtained their revenge, beating La Albiceleste 3-0.
However each these video games had been within the group phases: On Tuesday the stakes shall be larger than any the 2 sides have skilled whereas going through off towards one another.
Croatia — in the event that they win — would develop into the primary back-to-back World Cup finalists since Brazil in 2002. However in Messi, Argentina have a participant who can unlock any defence at any second.
The seven-time Balon d’Or winner is eyeing his second World Cup last, after his crew misplaced to Germany in 2014. The World Cup trophy is the only key title missing from his assortment, which incorporates each huge membership and nationwide crew title.
“He’s the one pushing us. He’s the one motivating us,” Tagliafico, the left-back who performs within the French league for Lyon, mentioned. “We’re actually fortunate to have Messi as our captain.”