The semifinals will kick off shortly with a matchup between Argentina and Croatia. The two sides squared off in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup, where Croatia came away victorious, 3-0. Lionel Messi and Argentina will be looking to advance to their first final since 2014, while Luka Modric and Croatia will be looking to make repeat appearances in the World Cup Final.
We’ll preview this Semi-Final matchup and give the best betting odds.
Argentina vs Croatia Preview
Argentina was a team that was expected to appear at this stage, however, Croatia was not. After making a finals appearance in the 2018 World Cup, it was said that this Croatia team was too old. They’ve proved everyone wrong to this point. With penalty kick wins over Japan and Brazil, this year’s team has found themselves in familiar territory.
Argentina is trying to win its first World Cup since 1986. Lionel Messi is the guy in charge of leading them to the promised land. One of the sports greatest would ascend to god-like status with a World Cup trophy. Messi has scored 4 goals so far in this tournament. 2 of them have come in the knockout stage after failing to score a World Cup knockout stage goal in his first 4 tries at the tournament.
Argentina came away with the win of the tournament in their quarterfinal matchup against the Netherlands. The Argentinians blew a two goal lead late but managed to win the game in penalty kicks. The game was tense. It finished with 18 yellow cards and one red card as the two sides duked it out for the maximum.
Messi had a beautiful assist to open the scoring and drilled a penalty for his side’s second goal. He also put Argentina ahead in the penalty shootout after Emiliano Martinez got things started with a save on Virgil van Dijk. Argentina was the better squad for most of the match but struggled with a lead.
Croatia was able to stifle a talented Brazil team on their way to another World Cup Semi-Final appearance. Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the star of the show, stopping 11 shots. He may need the same kind of performance to advance his side one more time. Croatia is likely going to be playing on the back foot for most of the match, as they did against Brazil.
Luka Modric, who is very likely playing in his last World Cup for his national team, will be tasked with pushing the attack for Croatia. Look for Croatia to try to stifle Argentina, much like they did with Brazil, and then push on the counter. The last thing Argentina wants is for this game to go to penalty kicks, where Croatia is 4-0 in their last two World Cups.
Best Betting Odds for This Semi-Final Matchup
NY sportsbooks have Argentina as big favorites to advance to the final. This is no surprise, considering Croatia is a surprise Semi-Finalist.
If you’re looking to wager on Croatia to advance you’ll find the best betting odds on FanDuel where Croatia is listed at +210. The best odds for Argentina to advance to the final are on BetRivers where they’re listed at -240.
There’s better value for betting on Croatia. We’ve already seen them stifle one superpower in the sport. The eastern European nation’s success in extra time and in penalty kicks is also a reason to consider them a good underdog bet. Argentina is much more likely to go through, but the value is not there for the South American team.
If you’re looking to wager on an anytime goalscorer, you can take Lionel Messi to do so at any time in the match for +130 odds. Messi has 4 goals so far in this tournament and is looking to catch Kylian Mbappe (5 goals) in the Golden Boot race.
The most likely goal scorer for Croatia is Andrej Kramaric, who is listed at +450 odds to find the back of the net at least once. Kramaric has 2 goals in this tournament. Both came in Croatia’s 4-1 win over Canada in the group stage. Modric’s odds are at +700 to find the back of the net in this one.
Here are the odds to win it all on BetRivers: