Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic does not skimp: “The best midfielder in the world is mine. » We can’t blame him. This will undoubtedly be, and how many times, the key to the match between Croatia and Argentina on Tuesday at the Lusail stadium from 8 p.m.
Favorite, Argentina will have to rely on an imperial Messi – which he has been since the start of this World Cup – to derail the Croatian machine. For his last World Cup, the Argentinian has all the keys at the end of the left foot! » Against him, defending one-on-one is not a good idea. It will be necessary to close the spaces, cut the transmissions, prevent him from receiving the ball. » insists the Croatian coach.
A whole program to counter the one who is only two victories away from the only title he lacks: the World Cup. With a fabulous assist and a converted penalty, he was still the key to qualifying in the last four at the expense of the Netherlands (2-2 after, 4-3 with pens). But now, a single man cannot always, on his own, meet all expectations and tip fate on the right side.
Croats in ambush
This time more than ever the task of Argentina and especially King Leo will be complicated against a Croatian team experienced in all exercises and in particular that of possession of the ball. “We managed to confiscate the ball from the Brazilians, we never rushed. We didn’t create many chances, but we did what we had to. Our environment puts the adversary to sleep. » This midfielder is indeed a well-oiled and above all very experienced piece. The magic trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are used to the highest level.
Modric is five Champions Leagues. Only one more than Kovacic! As for Brozovic, he has been a sure bet for Calcio for seven years. As at Inter Milan, the latter is placed as a sentinel in front of his defense. But that doesn’t stop him from going up. Modric, the goldsmith, positions himself on the right, with all the freedom to direct the game and this without complaining about the defensive work. Finally on the left and slightly less offensive, Kovacic willingly covers his captain. Like Brozovic, he likes raids to widen the gap. The tactical and technical table posed remains another asset in the sleeve of the Croats. An abnegation at all times. When Brazil opened the scoring in the quarter-finals, few believed in a possible return of the Croats.“Everyone thought we were screwed, we showed once again that we never surrender” explained Modric.
The message has probably already circulated on the side of the Argentines who still had to work to get the Dutch out. In a tense match at the limit, they owe their salvation only to penalties and their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
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