Prediction and odds: Argentina (5/6) vs Croatia (4/1)
We’re backing Draw/Argentina (HT/FT) at 10/3
When: Tuesday, 13th December 2022 – 7pm KO (GMT)
Where: Lusail Iconic Stadium
Croatia and Argentina will collide later this week with the winner reaching the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.
It’s been a long time since Argentina were anointed as one of the best national teams in world football. Still, even through the dark times and the even darker still, their fanbase has never wavered. The country is full of passionate, diehard supporters, all of whom believe now is the time for them to ascend back to the top of the mountain – with Lionel Messi, of course, being the one who leads the charge.
Argentina had to overcome a shock setback to Saudi Arabia in the early stages of this tournament before seeing off the challenge of Poland and Mexico. In the round of 16, Australia put up a valiant effort before falling, with Netherlands serving as even stiffer opposition. They came from 2-0 down to take the game to penalties, with the Argentines just about managing to scrape through to the semi-finals.
Croatia have often been looked upon as the little engine that could since their independence as a national team began. They’ve always been host to some incredibly talented footballers but in equal measure, they are rarely seen as one of the frontrunners to go all the way in big tournaments. After reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup, though, you’d have thought that would’ve changed, and yet they are still the underdogs.
With Luka Modric leading the charge as he so often does, this squad has been able to edge their way through a difficult group featuring Belgium, Canada and Morocco, the latter of whom are also in the semi-finals. They have thus far beaten Japan and Brazil through the chaos of a penalty shootout which is already drawing many comparisons to what they accomplished in Russia four years ago.
This is an unbelievably difficult game to call because both scenarios seem feasible, especially given their respective recent histories at this level. We expect Argentina to push the tempo with Croatia finding openings on the counter and through set pieces. Ultimately, however, they’ll head into half time with the scoreline locked at 0-0 in a classically tense final four clash.
It’ll come down to sheer will power and who wants it more, which is why we’re backing Argentina to get through to the final. Our anticipation, and somewhat expectation, is for Messi to link up with one of his teammates and slot the ball home, sending them through with a 1-0 win.
Alas, don’t assume Croatia’s gas tank will run empty – as many teams have made that mistake before and paid for it.
Our tips (all taken from bet365): Draw/Argentina (HT/FT) at 10/3 + under 2.5 goals at 8/15[geosnippet id=3620]
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