Argentina vs Croatia LIVE: Stream FREE, TV channel, kick-off time for TONIGHT'S huge World Cup semi-final | The Sun
13th December 2022

ARGENTINA are facing Croatia in their HUGE World Cup semi-final tonight!

And star man Lionel Messi could have one last Argentinian dance in Sunday's World Cup final – but his side will need to beat the stubborn Croatians first.

The Albiceleste won their ill-tempered quarter-final against the Netherlands on penalties – which was the case for both of these two teams.

Croatia have now won their last two World Cup games by stunning spot-kicks, and truly sent shockwaves through the globe with their win over Brazil.

So now we are down to the semi-finals – the great Messi desperate to add the one big trophy missing from his stunning collection against the underdogs hoping to go one better than in Russia four years ago.

  • Start time: 7pm GMT
  • TV: ITV 1
  • Live stream: ITV X.
  • Argentina XI: To follow
  • Croatia XI: To follow

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  • Emillia Hawkins

    Croatia starting line-up

    Dominik Livakovic, Ivan Perisic, Dejan Lovren, Mateo Kovacic, Andrej Kramaric, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Borna Sosa, Josko Gvardiol, Josip Juranovic.

    Credit: Twitter
  • James Orr

    Lusail Iconic

    How the Lusail Iconic Stadium is looking ahead of kick-off in just over an hour.

    Not long to go until the big one.

    It is Messi vs Modric…

    Credit: Getty
    Credit: Getty
  • James Orr

    Modric warns Messi

    Luka Modric has warned Lionel Messi and Argentina ahead of their massive World Cup semi-final tonight.

    Modric has compared Croatia with his club team Real Madrid, who fought back in incredible fashion last season en route to winning the Champions League.

    Modric told Television Espanola: "You could say we have the same DNA as Real Madrid because we always keep going until the end, and never give up.

    "Of course, Leo is very big, he's their best player, and we're going to have a lot of difficulties to stop him, but we are prepared and we are going to give it our all.

    "I hope it will be enough to be in the final."

    Credit: Reuters
  • James Orr

    Ronaldo makes his prediction

    Well, the Brazil legend Ronaldo has, not CR7.

    Ronaldo has revealed that he would be happy for Lionel Messi if he was to guide Argentina to World Cup glory.

    The former striker, 46, has been a regular attendee at matches in Qatar, even after his country were eliminated.

    Ronaldo said: "Argentina don’t play great football but they have an incredible desire.

    They all run a lot together, they all have that aggressiveness… and then they have Messi, who when he gets in the box is very decisive.

    "Personally, I would be happy for him if he wins it."

    Credit: Getty
  • James Orr

    When is the third place play-off?

    Remember, the loser's World Cup is not quite over tonight.

    They've still got the third place play-off on Saturday night!

    It will kick off at 7pm on Saturday.

    France vs Morocco is the other semi-final which is taking place tomorrow night.

  • James Orr

    Messi vs Modric…at the World Cup 2022

    And how do the two legends compare for the tournament over in Qatar these past few weeks.

    But all the stats, numbers and history can be put to one side at 7pm this evening when the two legends of football step out at the Lusail Stadium in front of 88,000 supporters knowing they will lead their adoring nations into the World Cup final with a win.

  • James Orr

    Messi vs Modric

    For Lionel Messi and Luka Modric the two veterans and global stars, they know this is likely their last shot at World Cup glory with their respective nations.

    So, how do Messi and Modric compare?

  • Nick Emms

    One Knoll

    Ivana Knoll has made quite the name for herself at the 2022 World Cup.

    The stunning Croatian model has supported her national side all the way and will be hoping, along with the rest of the country, that their run doesn't end tonight.

    Ivana Knoll will be supporting her team again tonight, but who is she?Credit: EPA

    We've got all the information on former Miss Croatia right here, but be sure to keep an eye out for her when Argentina and Croatia take to the pitch.

    She's proven to be one of the most loyal fans in Qatar and certainly has been Croatia's good luck charm up until now.

  • Nick Emms

    Deja vu

    Croatia could seal their place in the final tonight and they know that 2018 opponents France could join them.

    The French came out 4-2 victors in Russia in what was a fairly easy final for Didier Deschamps' men.

    Croatia fell at the final hurdle in 2018Credit: Darren Fletcher – The Sun

    A win tonight will see half of the 2018 final line-up in the last-2.

    All focus remains on Argentina, but surely Croatia have revenge in the back of their minds if they are to progress.

  • Nick Emms

    No Acuna or Montiel

    Argentina will be without Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel after they picked up yellows against the Dutch so it may well be Nahuel Molina and Nicolas Tagliafico at wing-backs.

    Angel Di Maria's fitness is still a concern – he was only able to come off the bench last time out.

  • Nick Emms

    Stepping up when it Mateo's the most

    Mateo Kovacic has discussed his pride in representing Croatia at the World Cup and vowed to do his all to bring home the World Cup.

    "Every time you represent your country it is just something incredible," said the Chelsea midfielder. "The whole country is watching you. I’m very proud and honoured to wear my Croatian shirt.

    "I always thought when I grew up that I would be a football player and of course I believed that I could be in that position to play for my national team, but you just need to work hard to get there."

    He will have a tough task on his hands tonight when he face Lionel Messi, Enzo Fernandez and co. but the midfielder will be hoping to make it to another final.

  • Nick Emms

    Luka and Lionel's longevity

    Cast your minds back to 2006, for those that can remember.

    A baby-faced Luka Modric took to the pitch for Croatia for the first time. His opponent? Argentina.

    His side trailed to a goal from none other than a young Lionel Messi, but the Croatians came out 3-2 victors on that occasion.

    Lionel Messi and Luka Modric in action at the 2018 World CupCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Into the next decade, 2018 was the next time the pair faced off on the international stage – a 3-0 victory for Croatia in the group, who went on to reach the World Cup final. On the scoresheet that day? Modric himself.

    Will history repeat itself tonight? Can Croatia net their third consecutive victory over Argentina and reach the World Cup final…?

  • Nick Emms

    Liv or let die

    Dominik Livakovic has been nothing sort of sensational for Croatia at the World Cup.

    And in Netflix documentary 'Captains', Luka Modric gave some home truths to the goalkeeper during World Cup qualifying and he has taken the advice on board.

    Dominik Livakovic has been the hero for Croatia in the knockout roundsCredit: Alamy

    “I wouldn’t be telling you this if I didn’t care about you but I see that you are not progressing with the national team," Modric told his teammate.

    “Maybe it’s the pressure you’re under, maybe it’s not … but you’re radiating uncertainty and that rubs off on the team.

    Croatia have won successive penalty shootouts to reach the semi-finalsCredit: Getty

    "Do you understand? Why can’t you make a mistake? We all make mistakes. I feel that your problem is that you’re afraid of making them … name one person who doesn’t make mistakes. I didn’t get to where I am by being scared, it only makes things worse. Look, you’re a great goalkeeper. You know that, right?”

    Livakovic has not made a single mistake yet, living life on the edge and reaping the rewards.

    Let's see if he can shut out Lionel Messi and co tonight.

  • Nick Emms

    Who could Croatia turn to?

    Croatia's team pretty much picks itself, and it feels like it has done for the last few years.

    Fans are used to seeing the likes of Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Dejan Lovren take to their screens at every international tournament.

    However, Ivan Rakitic no longer plays for the national side, seeing Marcelo Brozovic make up the third midfield spot – not a bad repalcement…

    The emergence of Josep Juranovic and Borna Sosa for the national team has also added a new dimension to the side, with both fantastic both defensively and offensively.

    And Josko Gvardiol needs no introduction. What a player.

    Here is what SunSport believe could be the starting XI today.

  • Nick Emms

    Who could start for Argentina?

    While Lionel Scaloni is yet to name his 11 for the clash against Croatia, we have gone ahead to predict it.

    This will no doubt be completely wrong but where's the fun in being right anyway?

    SunSport believe that a back five will be deployed with the impressive Enzo Fernandez taking his place in midfield.

    We've gone for Julian Alvarez getting the nod ahead of Lautaro Martinez despite the Inter star scoring the all important penalty to get his side into the semi-finals.

    And in the boldest prediction of them all… Lionel Messi starts.

    Shock, I know.

  • Nick Emms

    Masked man

    Josko Gvardiol has been wearing a mask all tournament, but this hasn't stopped the youngster impressing.

    Pairing him alongside experienced Dejan Lovren has proven to be a wise move, with the duo looking solid at the back.

    Josko Gvardiol has been a standout player at the World CupCredit: AP

    Gvardiol was already heavily linked with a huge European move and his performances at the World Cup will only please RB Leipzig, who are holding out for big money.

    Chelsea are thought to be leading the race but the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United are also interested in the Croatian.

    He has previously hinted at a move to Stamford Bridge, sharing a strong relationship with Mateo Kovacic.

    Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic could play together for Chelsea one dayCredit: PA

    Kovacic is a fan of the idea, saying: "At the club, they asked me about Josko, I told them all the best.

    “I don’t need to say anything about his football, they know what kind of player he is, and his character is excellent.

    “I have seen in the national team how eager he is to play, he has a great career ahead of him, and I hope that one day we will play together in the club.”

  • Nick Emms

    Bring the World Cup to… Brighton?

    Alexis Mac Allister could become the first Brighton and Hove Albion player to lift the FIFA World Cup.

    When moving to the Seagulls from Argentinos Juniors back in 2019, Tony Bloom may not have envisaged the midfielder having a chance at lifting the World Cup.

    Alexis Mac Allister has proven his worth at club and national levelCredit: Getty

    But if they get past Croatia tonight, Argentina could go all the way and Mac Allister would write his place in history at club level also.

    He would become the FIRST player to play for Brighton and lift the World Cup while with the Seagulls.

    It's credit to Brighton, their recruitment team and Mac Allister himself.

  • Nick Emms

    M&M

    Luka Modric and Lionel Messi are no strangers, having faced off against each other in multiple El Clasico's.

    Both players have also tasted heartbreaks in World Cup finals, with Modric losing out in 2018 and Messi in 2014.

    Both won the golden ball for their sides in the process, though, and will be looking to make history tonight.

    The end of an era? One of Messi or Modric will fall in the semi-finalCredit: Getty

    If Messi plays, and let's face it, he will,he equals Lothar Matthaus' record for most World Cup appearances with 25.

    Modric is also set to become the oldest outfield player to start six games at one World Cup, beating Brazil wing-back Nilton Santos, who holds the record as he was 37 in 1962.

    But who will come out on top?

  • Nick Emms

    Man of the moment

    All eyes are on Lionel Messi to deliver for Argentina, with fans piling the pressure on the magic man.

    He has had an incredible tournament so far, but will not be satisfied until the trophy is in his hands.

    This could prove to be Lionel Messi's last chance at the World CupCredit: Getty

    Can he deliver?

    Only time will tell. He'll have to overcome a courageous Croatia side, with Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric no aware of what he can do in midfield.

  • Nick Emms

    History repeating itself?

    Croatia had a much different route to get here with two 0-0 draws in Group F – against fellow semi-finalists Morocco and Belgium – either side of a 4-1 thumping of Canada.

    They came from behind in both the last 16 against Japan and the quarter-final with Brazil to draw 1-1 and take it to spot-kicks.

    Croatia celebrating their victory over BrazilCredit: Getty

    They are unbeaten in the tournament but have also not won a World Cup knockout clash in 90 minutes since 1998, despite reaching the final last time out.

    Can they do it again and make it to consecutive World Cup finals?

  • Nick Emms

    Road to recovery

    While they were the tournament favourites heading to Qatar, Argentina had a horror start to the World Cup when they lost to Saudi Arabia.

    The South Americans recovered with wins over Mexico and Poland to top Group C before dismantling Australia and the Netherlands to make it this far.

    Croatia will face the toughest test yet though, after an impressive run to make it into the last-4.

  • Nick Emms

    Good afternoon football fans!

    I hope you are well rested ahead of the semi-finals, football fans.

    Argentina and Croatia get us started in the last-4 tonight as Lionel Messi and Luka Modric are looking to guide their side to a place in the final.

    There is every possibility that we could see a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final if Croatia qualify tonight, with France facing Morocco tomorrow.

    But Lionel Scaloni's men stand in their way, with the action set to kick-off in around five hours time.

    Don't worry, though, there is plenty to talk about ahead of the HUGE clash.

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