Argentina and Croatia ready to face each other

Argentina and Croatia meet in the first of the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, with France and Morocco then meeting in the second 24 hours later.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the last four clashes in Qatar and how things have gone in the build-up.

Messi on an equal record

Messi is set to make his 25th World Cup appearance on Tuesday (Adam Davy/PA).

Lionel Messi, seeking glory at what is likely to be his last World Cup, is set to make a record 25th appearance in the competition in Tuesday’s game at the Lusail Stadium against former Germany player Lothar Matthaus.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni said of the 35-year-old skipper: “He was always a winner. He is so impatient, ready to continue playing football, so we are very happy about that.

“We will continue to enjoy it. It’s the most (important) thing we can do, it’s for us and for the world of football.”

Left-back Nicolas Tagliafico said: “He’s our captain, our leader. It is he who pushes us, who motivates us. It is he who has this special advantage.

Scaloni defends his men

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni at a press conference on Monday (Adam Davy/PA).

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni at a press conference on Monday (Adam Davy/PA).

Argentina qualified for the semi-finals on Friday by beating the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, and Scaloni defended his side’s behavior during the heated competition.

Scaloni’s players were quick to goad their opponents after triumphing in the shootout, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz stepped up bookings and FIFA announced disciplinary proceedings against both federations for player and team misconduct. officials in the game.

Scaloni said: “The previous match was played as we were supposed to play it with both teams, the Netherlands and Argentina, and that’s football.

“In football sometimes you have to defend, attack and some games, you know, things can go like the previous game. There can be arguments, more difficult moments, but that’s it. That’s why there is an arbiter to administer justice.

“We respect all teams. We have to put an end to this idea that we are not good winners or losers – it is very far from who we really are as a team, as a team and as the way we represent this nation .

Croatia in search of the “biggest” moment

Croatian players celebrate after beating Brazil on penalties (Mike Egerton/PA).

Croatian players celebrate after beating Brazil on penalties (Mike Egerton/PA).

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic believes win over Argentina will eclipse semi-final win over England he oversaw en route to 2018 World Cup runners-up in Russia.

Dalic, whose side beat Brazil on penalties in their round of 16 on Friday, said: “The semi-final game against England at the last World Cup was the biggest game ever. all time, the game against Brazil comes second.

“If we win tomorrow, it would make it the greatest historic game for Croatia ever.

“We are among the top four teams in the world, it’s an extraordinary achievement for Croatia, it’s good for two consecutive World Cups to be in the top four national football teams. (And) we want more.

No French complacency says Varane

Raphael Varane in action for France (Nick Potts/PA).

Raphael Varane in action for France (Nick Potts/PA).

Wednesday’s match at Al Bayt Stadium will see defending champions France, winners of England in the last round, take on the tournament’s surprise package in Morocco, winners of Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Looking ahead to the game, French defender Raphael Varane said: “We have a lot of experience and we won’t fall into the trap of thinking we’re favourites.

“If Morocco reached the semi-finals, it is not by chance. They defend very well and it’s going to be a really tough game.

Tweet of the day

Picture of the day

Messi looks relaxed during an Argentina training session in Qatar on Monday (Nick Potts/PA).

Messi looks relaxed during an Argentina training session in Qatar on Monday (Nick Potts/PA).

Next

Semi final

tuesday 13 december

Argentina v Croatia (1900GMT, ITV1)

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