How Argentina, Croatia Reached 2022 World Cup Semifinals


This should be fun.

After two wildly entertaining quarterfinal matches — both of which went to a penalty shootout — Argentina and Croatia will meet in the 2022 World Cup semifinals.

Led by Lionel Messi and Luka Modrić, these two squads are familiar with success on the big stage. Argentina lost in the 2014 World Cup Final, while Croatia was the runner-up in 2018.

Before these two teams meet, here’s a look at how they got to this point:

How did Argentina get to the World Cup semifinals?

Nothing has been easy for Argentina in Qatar.

It all started off with a devastating 2-1 upset loss to Saudi Arabia, putting the squad in a virtual must-win position for the final two group stage games.

Argentina quickly rebounded, though, finishing with two convincing 2-0 wins to clinch the top spot in Group C. First was a victory over Mexico, where Messi scored his second goal in as many games. Then it was a win over Poland to officially sit atop Group C.

In the round of 16 against Australia, Argentina escaped with a narrow 2-1 win. Messi scored his third goal of the tournament in the 35th minute before Julián Álvarez extended the lead to 2-0 in the 57th minute. An own goal by Enzo Fernández in the 77th minute gave Australia some life, but Emiliano Martinez closed the door with several key saves in the final moments.

It didn’t get any easier in the quarterfinals against the Netherlands. Argentina jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute on a Messi penalty kick, but the Dutch fought back to tie it in the 11th minute of stoppage time to force extra periods. The squads were scoreless in the extra 30 minutes, sending it to a shootout. Argentina goalkeeper Martinez made two massive saves to begin the shootout as the South American nation edged the Oranje 4-3 to advance.

Messi leads all Argentines with four goals and two assists in five games at the World Cup.

How did Croatia get to the World Cup semifinals?

Similar to Argentina, Croatia hasn’t made things easy for itself in Qatar.

The group stage didn’t go smoothly, with the Vatreni drawing Morocco 0-0 before beating Canada 4-1 in the second match.

Going into their final match against Belgium, Croatia needed a draw or win to advance. They did just that, playing an even 0-0 game against Belgium to seal the second spot in Group F behind Morocco.

The knockout stage has been all about goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.

In the round of 16 against Japan, the game was tied at 1-1 through 120 minutes. Nikola Vlašić, Marcelo Brozović and Mario Pašalić scored in the shootout, but Livaković saved three of four shots to seal the 3-1 victory.

Croatia’s quarterfinal matchup with Brazil had a similar ending but took a wildly different path to get there. The game was tied 0-0 after 90 minutes, but Brazil pulled ahead in stoppage time of the first half of extra time on a goal from Neymar. With just a few minutes to play, Bruno Petkovic scored in the 117th minute to send it to another shootout.

From there, Livaković took over yet again.

Andrej Kramarić has two goals in the tournament to lead Croatia, while Ivan Perišić has two assists.

How to watch Argentina vs. Croatia, 2022 World Cup semifinals

Argentina-Croatia will be the first semifinal match at the 2022 World Cup. The game will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. ET. Broadcast coverage can be found on FOX in English and Telemundo in Spanish.

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