Croatia will aim to make it back-to-back World Cup final appearances when they take on Lionel Messi and Argentina in Tuesday’s much-anticipated semifinal.
Zlatko Dalic’s side demolished a ragged Argentina 3-0 during the group stage of the 2018 World Cup and, with pressure and expectation building around Messi’s final bid for glory on this stage, they will hope to pick at any lingering mental scars.
A 4-1 win against Canada in their second group match remains Croatia’s only win at this tournament, having drawn with fellow surprise semifinalists Morocco and Belgium during the round-robin phase before overcoming Japan and Brazil on penalties.
Nevertheless, a seemingly unshakable belief in their capacity to prevail against the odds has Croatia rumbling on towards another shot at the improbable. Here’s how their team is likely to look against Argentina.
🗓️ 1 March 2006
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) December 12, 2022
MORE: Argentina vs Croatia history: Head-to-head matches at World Cup, last meeting, team records ahead of 2022 semifinal
Croatia projected lineup vs Argentina
(4-3-3, right to left): 1. Livakovic (GK) — 22. Juranovic, 6. Lovren, 20. Gvardiol, 19. Sosa — 10. Modric, 11. Brozovic, 8. Kovacic — 15. Pasalic, 9. Kramaric, 4. Perisic
- Injured: None.
- Suspended: None.
Unlike Argentina, Croatia didn’t pick up any suspensions from their quarterfinal win against Brazil. Aside from the obvious wear and tear of going 120 minutes once again, Dalic has no specific fitness concerns.
Substitute Bruno Petkovic scored the equaliser against Brazil and was set up by Mislav Orsic, who similarly produced a lively cameo from the bench.
If either freshens up the forward line, Mario Pasalic would be the most likely to make way, with Ivan Kramaric and Ivan Perisic virtually guaranteed starters.
Argentina duo Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel are suspended after collecting their second bookings of the tournament. Acuna will be replaced at left-back by Nicolas Tagliafico.
MORE: Who is Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic? Contract, salary, record and tactics of mastermind behind World Cup run
Croatia World Cup squad
Here are the 26 names on Croatia’s World Cup squad in Qatar (Caps correct as of start of Qatar 2022):
|Goalkeeper||Dominik Livakovic||Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)||27||33|
|Goalkeeper||Ivo Grbic||Atletico Madrid (SPA)||26||2|
|Goalkeeper||Ivica Ivusic||Osijek (CRO)||27||5|
|Defender||Josip Stanisic||Bayern Munich (GER)||22||6|
|Defender||Borna Barisic||Rangers (SCO)||29||27|
|Defender||Martin Erlic||Sassuolo (ITA)||24||3|
|Defender||Dejan Lovren||Zenit St Petersburg (ITA)||33||71|
|Defender||Borna Sosa||VfB Stuttgart (GER)||24||8|
|Defender||Josko Gvardiol||RB Leipzig (GER)||20||12|
|Defender||Domagoj Vida||AEK Athens (GRE)||33||99|
|Defender||Josip Juranovic||Celtic (SCO)||27||21|
|Defender||Josip Sutalo||Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)||22||3|
|Midfielder||Lovro Majer||Rennes (FRA)||24||10|
|Midfielder||Mateo Kovacic||Chelsea (ENG)||28||83|
|Midfielder||Luka Modric||Real Madrid (SPA)||37||154|
|Midfielder||Luka Sucic||RB Salzburg (AUS)||20||3|
|Midfielder||Marcelo Brozovic||Inter Milan (ITA)||29||76|
|Midfielder||Nikola Vlasic||Torino (ITA)||25||41|
|Midfielder||Mario Pasalic||Atalanta (ITA)||27||42|
|Midfielder||Ivan Perisic||Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)||33||115|
|Midfielder||Kristijan Jakic||Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)||25||4|
|Forward||Andrej Kramaric||Hoffenheim (GER)||31||73|
|Forward||Marko Livaja||Hadjuk Split (CRO)||29||14|
|Forward||Bruno Petkovic||Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)||28||22|
|Forward||Ante Budimir||Osasuna (ENG)||31||15|
|Forward||Mislav Orsic||Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)||29||20|