After a frenetic round of quarter-final ties, the World Cup moves onto the semi-finals and the neutral will be keen to tune into Tuesday’s offering – Argentina v Croatia.
Argentina — who are aiming to be crowned world champions for the first time in 36 years — were taken the distance by the Netherlands last Friday after they surrendered a 2-0 lead before prevailing on penalties.
Meanwhile, 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia stunned five-times champions Brazil earlier in the day via a shoot-out, and they shouldn’t be underestimated.
To unpack what promises to be an entertaining match, we have shared a few stats for you to gorge on:
– Croatia are looking to emulate Germany in 2014 by becoming the first team to knock out both South American giants in a World Cup.
– Lionel Messi is level with Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s all-time leading scorer (10) at World Cups.
– This will be the third World Cup meeting between Argentina and Croatia, and the first time they have faced off in the knockout stages.
As always, with the World Cup in the final week, the top US betting sites won’t shy away from offering the best lines for punters to explore.
To aid you, we have selected three betting tips for you to chew on ahead of kick-off.
Argentina to be taken to penalties again
Argentina are perhaps no strangers to doing things the harder way. They found that out when they surged into what appeared to be an unassailable lead against the Netherlands, but the Oranje had other ideas, and it was a tense shoot-out for Argentina to endure.
Nevertheless, Argentina found a way over the line, and Lautaro Martinez sent the fans into pandemonium with his decisive spot-kick as they sealed their fifth World Cup semi-final berth.
At times, it seems easy to underestimate Croatia, but they were plucky and they dug deep to overcome Brazil.
Luka Modric will of course be instrumental if they are to reach the final, but Argentina may not be willing to oblige.
This could well be a tense game, but one that will go right down to the wire. If you fancy Argentina to punch their ticket to the World Cup Final via penalties, then DraftKings is offering long odds of +800 for this to be the case.
Lionel Messi to get in on the act
While it hasn’t always happened for Messi on the world stage, it feels like now or never for him.
The 35-year-old — who reached the World Cup Final with Argentina in 2014 — has made an impact in Qatar, scoring four goals, and he’s lagging behind just Kylian Mbappe in the race to clinch the Golden Boot.
Messi is one of those players who like to take games by the scruff of the neck, and invariably, he’s on the scoresheet.
He’s now scored and assisted in three different World Cup matches, and he will have his say on the game. Messi could well net in regulation time, and he could score anytime against Croatia, a price which is available at an enticing +280 with BetMGM, and this is certainly worth exploring further.
Argentina to pile on the pressure
As you might expect, Argentina will look to dominate wherever possible and exert pressure on Croatia from the very first whistle.
Indeed, against the Netherlands, Argentina forced eight corners, and they could well amass a similar tally against Croatia. The corners total over/under section of the market usually provides good value, and it will be no different for this game. If you fancy Argentina to gain Over 4.5 corners, then you can get a price of -130 with DraftKings for Argentina to do so.