Jack87 news today, asianbookie Argentina and Lionel Messi face Croatia tomorrow in the World Cup semi-final, a match that pits the South American’s talent against the guile and fighting spirit of Luka Modric.
Defending champions France take on giants Morocco, the first ever African side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, in Thursday’s second semi-final.
But first, all eyes will be on the gigantic Lusail Stadium, where Messi, 35, boda8 will take on the beaten finalists in 2018 to lead Argentina to the final for the second time in eight years.
Messi, who lost the 2014 final to Germany, is desperate to crown a remarkable career by eventually winning the World Cup and emulating another Argentine legend, the late Diego Maradona.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker was a key figure in Friday’s stormy quarter-final win over the Netherlands when a record 18 yellow cards were shown and players from both sides got into a scuffle as the referee fought for control.
Even Messi, boda8 malaysia who has always been gentle, was involved in the abuse of Dutch players in an interview after the game.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni defended his players’ actions in a news conference on the eve of the game yesterday, insisting they had nothing to apologize for.
“The games of the previous few days were played in the right way by both sides. That’s football,” said the 44-year-old Argentine coach.
“I don’t believe in the idea that we don’t know how to win. The game is played the right way.”
Croatia surprises again
Croatia, who beat Japan and pre-tournament favorites Brazil on penalties to advance to the semi-finals, have not won in a normal-time knockout round of a major tournament since finishing third at the 1998 World Cup.
Despite the difficult process, the country of 3.9 million stunned the football world by reaching the final four years ago when France beat their dream team 4-2.
Croatia, where Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric remains a leader on the pitch at the age of 37, once again defied the odds of reaching a second consecutive final.
Head coach Zlatko Dalic said he hoped tomorrow’s game will be remembered as the “greatest game” in the country’s history.
“Being one of the four best national teams in back-to-back World Cups is a phenomenal success for Croatia,” Dalic said.
“However, we want more,” he added.
“I am optimistic and have full confidence in my players. They have shown their quality and strength of character and deserved to be in the final.”
Dalic said that despite Qatar’s lack of energy in the last two marathon rounds, it will not be an obstacle.
“There is no doubt that we are still going strong, full of energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
“We’re going to give it our all, as we’ve done in previous games.
“Against Argentina, we will do the same, we will give our all. We don’t have any injury problems. They don’t feel tired.”
captured the imagination
France are the favorites to beat Morocco and move closer to defending their title on Thursday.
But Africa’s historic run to the semi-finals captured the imagination of the continent and they were supported by legions of fans in Qatar.
This game will spice things up – France was the colonial power in Morocco, and thousands of people of Moroccan descent live and work in the country.
The demand is so great that Royal Air Maroc has announced it will add 30 round-trip flights, bringing avid fans to the Gulf states.
France defender Raphael Varane insists the reigning World Cup champions will not be complacent.
“We know that Morocco didn’t come here by accident,” he said.
“It’s up to our experienced players to make sure everyone is ready for another fight.”
One person familiar with winning the World Cup, Brazil star Ronaldo, said he believed France would go on to claim back-to-back global titles.
Ronaldo, who scored twice as his country won the 2002 World Cup final against Germany, told a media roundtable that included Agence France-Presse: “France, game after game, are on the mend. Supporting their status as title favourites, I still think they are the biggest favourites.”