Argentina and Croatia clash Tuesday in the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup in a matchup of iconic players.
Lionel Messi, 35, and Luka Modric, 37 — El Clasico foes for years in Spain — now meet on the international stage with a spot in the World Cup final on the line.
It’s also a matchup of iconic kits, with the sky blue stripes of Argentina an instantly recognizable pattern, while the red and white checkers of Croatia have become more known after their romp to the 2018 World Cup final four years ago.
Sadly, both cannot be worn on the same pitch, as they are both white-based patterns, and would be a violation of FIFA’s regulations. One team must change, and in today’s matchup, that team is Croatia. Argentina will deploy their traditional getup, while their European opponents will go with an alternative look.
MORE: A closer look at Croatia’s famous red & white checkered kit
Argentina vs Croatia kits for World Cup semifinal 2022
For the World Cup semifinal match on Tuesday, December 13, between Argentina and Croatia, the two sides will wear some shade of blue as they take the field as one of the final four sides remaining in the tournament.
Argentina will wear their traditional blue and white vertical stripes, an iconic look decades in the making.
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) December 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Croatia will wear their away kit for the first time at the 2022 World Cup. It’s a dark blue kit with the familiar checker pattern on the shoulder, albeit in a shade of blue and somewhat blurred.
They last wore this kit for the pre-World Cup friendly against Saudi Arabia on November 16, which Croatia won, 1-0.
💥 Game-winning goal, his No. 2⃣0⃣ for #Croatia! 🇭🇷
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) November 16, 2022
Why are Croatia wearing dark blue kits?
According to FIFA World Cup regulations, teams must provide “two different and contrasting colours for each of its first-choice (official) and alternative (reserve) team playing kit items.”
Therefore, every team must have a “home” kit and an “away” kit available for selection. This year, Croatia elected to designate a dark blue kit for their away jersey, a break from tradition when teams often go for a more traditional white getup.
As Croatia are the “away” team for this match and Argentina are the “home” team, it meant the South American side got to select their kit first, going for their traditional vertical stripes. That left Croatia to deploy their dark blue away kit for this match, the first time they have broken from their traditional red and white checkers this World Cup.
The kit is “inspired by Croatia’s nightlife and natural beauty, with vibrant Laser Blue checks reflecting the vibrancy of our country’s fast-moving festival culture and the azure waters of our coastline,” according to Croatia’s official jersey release in September.
The new Away Jersey is inspired by Croatia’s nightlife and natural beauty, with vibrant Laser Blue checks reflecting the vibrancy of our country’s fast-moving festival culture and the azure waters of our coastline.#Croatia | @nikefootball | #Vatreni❤️🔥 pic.twitter.com/RAjYGDzJE8
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) September 15, 2022
Argentina kit change for World Cup semifinal vs Croatia
Argentina also sport a small tweak for their kit today, one that was initiated last time out against the Netherlands. They will go with white shorts and white socks to match with their iconic home kit.
Argentina will play the semi final of the World Cup with the home kit, white shorts and white socks. pic.twitter.com/pPkOaxtkZh
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) December 12, 2022
The Albiceleste wore the black shorts and socks in the group stage and the Round of 16, but changed it for the quarterfinal match against the Netherlands.
This seemed to be because the match official for that game was wearing all black, and there was a desire to avoid any potential confusion. Previously, through the group stage, referees wore purple, yellow and orange.
The official for the Round of 16 match against Australia wore black, but Argentina did not change for that game.
Apunten, disparen 🎯
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) December 3, 2022
Argentina vs Croatia kit history
These two teams also faced off in the 2018 World Cup group stage, a game Croatia won, 3-0, on a trio of second-half strikes.
In that match, Croatia were also forced to wear their alternate kit as the “away” team, wearing a checkered kit featuring black and dark blue squares.
🇦🇷🆚🇭🇷 Croatia celebrate their 2018 win against Argentina… pic.twitter.com/wXpB3Psgft
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) December 13, 2022
They also faced off at the 1998 World Cup, a tournament that featured iconic kits throughout the competition. In that match, Croatia wore their home kit, which was a split look with the traditional red and white checkers that fades into a white half.
That pushed Argentina to their alternate kits, which was a navy blue kit with a white underarm stripe and a light blue collar that popped nicely.
Croatia romped to a third-placed finish in 1998, largely courtesy of Davor Šuker’s scintillating form.
He scored six times in seven games, with his only blank coming in a 1-0 group stage loss to Argentina.
Went home with the Silver Ball, too, behind Ronaldo. pic.twitter.com/w4np697Mu9
— These Football Times (@thesefootytimes) November 28, 2022
The only time @Argentina have faced Croatia at the World Cup ended in a 1-0 win thanks to Mauricio Pineda’s goal in 1998. La Albiceleste desperately need another June 21st victory today 🇦🇷 #VamosArgentina pic.twitter.com/fWAugMZULC
— GOLAZO (@golazoargentino) June 21, 2018