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Argentina v Croatia - Ian Wilkerson's World Cup semi-final betting tips

Both Argentina and Croatia were involved in thrilling World Cup quarter-finals and after assessing those games, Racing Post's Ian Wilkerson has given his thoughts on the pair's semi-final on Tuesday.

After battling past the Netherlands and Brazil, they will get the chance to return to Tuesday's venue, the Lusail Iconic Stadium for Sunday's final.

With so much on the line, it promises to be another enthralling encounter in Qatar.

What: Argentina v Croatia, World Cup semi-final
Where: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
When: 19:00pm, Tuesday 13th December 2022
How to watch: BBC1 and ITV1
Odds: Argentina 3/4, Draw 23/10, Croatia 9/2

Semi-final looks set to be a tense affair

Both of these teams earned their place in the semi-finals in dramatic circumstances and they could feel that their name was on the trophy.

For Argentina, all eyes are on Lionel Messi, of course regarded as one of the greatest players to have ever stepped on a pitch and while they broke their hoodoo at the last Copa America, there is a feeling that his brilliant career will not be complete unless he captures the biggest prize in the international game.

But this could also be the last chance for another Ballon d'Or winner, Luka Modric, who will be desperate to go one step further than four years ago when his team were beaten 4-2 in the final by France in Russia.

Croatia have to be admired for the tenacity they have displayed in this tournament. They are a team who grind out results and it is worth remembering that three of their five games in Qatar have been goalless after 90 minutes.

That included Friday's quarter-final against Brazil when they seemed down and out when Neymar scored just before half-time in extra-time.

However, Bruno Petkovic's deflected effort earned them a shootout and they came through penalties successfully, just as they did against Japan in the last 16.

Argentina managed to compose themselves after losing a two-goal lead in the depths of injury-time against the Netherlands before they got through on penalties too.

And facing another gruelling encounter just a few days later could take its toll and this is likely to turn into a cagey affair.

Argentina are odds-on to get the job done inside 90 minutes but the temptation is there to go for the draw at 90 minutes at an attractive 23/10 in the Full Time Result betting.

Game could take a while to get into its stride

Croatia have already demonstrated during this tournament that they are prepared to do the dirty work if it means they can progress and it seems unlikely that this clash will turn into a classic.

It is the nature of international tournament football that a team can progress to the semi-finals having won just one of their five matches in 90 minutes, and that has been Vatreni's general recipe for success.

With a cagey affair expected, it stands to reason that it may take a while to get going and even though Argentina netted a first-half goal against the Netherlands, it did take half an hour for either team to have an effort on target.

It would not be a surprise if we saw the same here and there is some value in 0-0 for Half Time Correct Score at 6/5, just as three of Croatia's and two of Argentina's matches have been in this tournament.

Some of those have been group games too, so we have to remember that the stakes are going to be a lot higher here.

Brozovic could go in the book again

As far as a player prop for the big game is concerned, it is worth supporting Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic in the Player to Be Booked market at 9/4.

He went into the referee's notebook in the quarter-final victory over Brazil and there is scope for him to do so again if Messi, who has been fouled 19 times during the tournament, drifts into a deeper role to orchestrate the Argentinian attacks.

That could increase Brozovic's involvement and, as a player who has been booked in five of his 10 Serie A appearances for Inter Milan this season, he is vulnerable to a yellow card.

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