Reigning South American champions, Argentina, and 2018 World Cup runners-up, Croatia, will meet in Tuesday night’s first semi-final match at the Qatar World Cup tournament.
To qualify for the last four in Qatar, Argentina defeated the Netherlands on penalties, while Croatia eliminated pre-tournament favourites, Brazil.
Tuesday’s semi-final clash is believed, potentially, to be 35-year-old Messi’s last appearance at a world Cup, if Argentina lose.
Already, the South Americans have won the cup twice, first in 1978 as hosts and in 1986 in Mexico.
On five previous occasions, the Argentines have prevailed on opponents at the semi-finals of the World Cup, whereas Croatia have so far played in two semi-final matches, in 1998 and 2018. The two sies have also met a couple of times at the tournament, in France and Russia.
The winner of Tuesday’s face-off will play either the Atlas Lions of Morocco or reigning champions, France, both of whom will clash on Wednesday for a place in the finale on Sunday.
Writing by Tony Okerafor