This should be fun.
After two wildly entertaining quarterfinal matches (both ended in penalty shootouts), Argentina and Croatia will meet in the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup.
Led by Lionel Messi and Luka Modrić, these two teams are familiar with success on the big stage. Argentina lost in the 2014 World Cup final, while Croatia were runners-up in 2018.
Before these two teams meet, here’s a look at how they got to this point:
How did Argentina reach the semifinals of the World Cup?
Nothing has been easy for Argentina in Qatar.
It all started with a devastating 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, putting the team in a virtually must-win position for the last two group games.
However, Argentina bounced back quickly and finished with two convincing 2-0 victories to clinch top spot in Group C. First was a win over Mexico, where Messi scored his second goal in as many games. Then it was a win over Poland to officially sit on top of Group C.
In the round of 16 against Australia, Argentina escaped with a narrow 2-1 victory. Messi scored his third goal of the tournament in the 35th minute before Julián Álvarez extended the lead to 2-0 in the 57th minute. An Enzo Fernández own goal in the 77th minute brought Australia to life, but Emiliano Martínez closed the door with several key saves in the final moments.
It was no easier in the quarterfinal against the Netherlands. Argentina jumped to a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute with Messi’s penalty kick, but the Dutch fought back to equalize in the 11th minute of stoppage time to force extra periods. The squads went goalless in the extra 30 minutes, sending them to a penalty shootout. Argentine goalkeeper Martinez made two massive saves to start the penalty shootout as the South American nation edged past the Oranje 4-3 to advance.
Messi leads all Argentines with four goals and two assists in five World Cup games.
How did Croatia reach the World Cup semifinals?
Like Argentina, Croatia have not made things easy in Qatar.
The group stage did not go smoothly, with Vatreni drawing Morocco 0-0 before beating Canada 4-1 in the second match.
Before their last game against Belgium, Croatia needed a draw or a win to advance. They did exactly that, playing a close 0-0 game against Belgium to seal second place in Group F behind Morocco.
The knockout phase has been all about goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.
In the round of 16 against Japan, the match was tied 1-1 for 120 minutes. Nikola Vlašić, Marcelo Brozović and Mario Pašalić all scored in the penalty shootout, but Livaković saved three of four shots to seal the 3–1 win.
Croatia’s quarterfinal showdown with Brazil had a similar ending, but it took a very different path to get there. The match was tied 0-0 after 90 minutes, but Brazil took the lead in first-half stoppage time of extra time through a goal from Neymar. With just minutes to go, Bruno Petkovic scored in the 117th minute to send it into another shootout.
From there, Livaković took over once again. He saved two of the four Brazilian shots, giving Croatia a 4-2 win.
Andrej Kramarić has two tournament goals to lead Croatia, while Ivan Perišić has two assists.
How to watch Argentina vs. Croatia, 2022 World Cup semifinals
Argentina-Croatia will be the first semifinal match of the 2022 World Cup. The game will be played on Tuesday, December 13 at 2 pm ET. Broadcast coverage can be found on FOX in English and Telemundo in Spanish.