One of these teams was supposed to be here. But the other one was not. Argentina and Croatia meet in the 2022 World Cup semifinal. Specifically, a spot in the World Cup betting title match is on the line. Argentina came into the World Cup as the second-favorites to win the tournament. Behind only CONMEBOL foes Brazil. Hence, the tournament seemed destined to pit the two South American rivals against each other in this semifinal. But Croatia spoiled the party by downing Brazil on penalties in the quarterfinal.
2022 World Cup Betting – Semifinal Match
Argentina vs. Croatia
When: Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 2 p.m. ET
CashBet Odds: Argentina -110, Draw +240, Croatia +375, OU 2.5
Argentina vs. Croatia CashBet Overview
Of course, Croatia was the 2018 best sportsbook online finalist. And they are aiming to reach their second-straight title match. Following a close call at the hands of France four years ago. Now, Luka Modric and company will hope to do the same to Lionel Messi and Argentina. Argentina escaped with a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands in their quarterfinal. Despite a late capitulation that nearly doomed their World Cup hopes as well.
Namely, Lionel is likely in his last FIFA World Cup. Messi is once again putting his nation on his shoulders. Argentina hopes to reach a World Cup odds summit that neither he nor chief rival Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to crest.
Argentina Opens as Chalk
Despite Croatia’s tactical masterclass against Brazil in the last round, Argentina is still considered heavy betting the World Cup favorites. Additionally, the betting indicates that sportsbooks expect a lack of goals in this game. There has been an under-swing heavily in its favor and the “no” option on both teams to score. Hence that could offer a huge advantage as well. Despite the quarterfinal games featuring these two teams featuring a combined six goals and no clean sheets. So there is a contrarian flair to the under.
Argentina vs. Croatia Matchup
The fitness of Angel Di Maria will be the biggest question ahead of this match for Argentina. To illuminate, the 34-year-old winger was utilized only late against the Netherlands. Di Maria looked to recover from a muscle issue suffered at the end of the Round of 16 games against Australia. Additionally, Rodrigo de Paul was an injury worry ahead of the Netherlands game, but he proved fit to start.
By contrast, Croatia has no injury worries to speak of heading into this match. Mateo Kovacic was a worry before the quarterfinal match. Following a facial injury during a gym session. But he was fit to start. Nikola Vlasic had a muscle injury in the group stage but has recovered. While Marcelo Brozovic has recovered from his pre-tournament hamstring issue to be a key part of the Croatia midfield.
Yellow cards accumulated to this point are wiped in the Betting on the World Cup semifinal. So no players can be suspended for the World Cup final due to accumulation. Only players sent off in the semifinal would be at risk for a suspension in the final.
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic is the only player with at least ten tackles won and at least five chances created in the 2022 World Cup. In comparison, Lionel Messi has created 16 chances in the 2022 World Cup. That is the second-most of any player behind only Antoine Griezmann’s 17. Nobody else in the entire tournament field has more than 11. And nobody on Croatia has more than five.
Messi’s six goal contributions this World Cup are second only to Kylian Mbappe’s seven. Despite trailing by one, Messi has accumulated 5.03 expected goals and expected assists to Mbappe’s 4.01.
Following the way Croatia played against Brazil, they can produce the same performance against a similar opponent in Argentina. Croatia’s midfield played defense via possession against Brazil. Specifically, Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, and Mateo Kovacic produced a masterclass. That would be a winning formula against Argentina.