Sports

Argentina versus Croatia; France versus Morocco on the World Cup television schedule.

Brazil’s Marquinhos, top, battles Croatia’s Luka Modric for the ball during Croatia’s World Cup quarterfinal win Friday.

(Andre Penner / Associated Press)

Where: Lusail Stadium

Time: 11 a.m. PST Tuesday

TV: Fox, Telemundo, Peacock Premium

The buzz: It will be something of a miracle if this game is decided in the regulation 90 minutes since five of Croatia’s last six World Cup elimination games have gone to extra time, as have four of the last six for Argentina.

Croatia has become a giant-killer in this World Cup, eliminating second-ranked Belgium in group play, then sending Neymar and No. 1 Brazil, the heavy tournament favorites, home in the quarterfinals. Now it gets Argentina and Lionel Messi, who is making a final push for the World Cup title he needs to cement his legacy.

Croatia’s strength is a midfield of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic, and no team has been tested more thoroughly in the last two World Cups.

In Russia, Croatia advanced through the first two rounds of the knockout stage on penalty kicks, then won its semifinal in extra time to reach the final unbeaten. It lost there to France. This time it has beaten Japan and Brazil on penalties to get back to the semifinals, leaving it unbeaten in five World Cup games that have gone to extra time, winning four of those in penalty-kick shootouts.

Croatia has lost just once in its last 12 World Cup matches and just once in its last 21 international matches overall, but it has scored multiple goals only once in five games in Qatar and didn’t score at all during the regulation 90 minutes in three of those matches.

Argentina drew nine of the World Cup-record 18 yellow cards shown in its quarterfinal win over Netherlands and as a result two players — defenders Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuña — are suspended for the semifinal.

The South Americans last played in the semifinals eight years ago in Brazil, eliminating the Netherlands on penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw. Its penalty-kick win over the Dutch in the quarterfinals here was its fifth in World Cup play, most by any team.

Argentina came to Qatar riding a 36-game unbeaten streak, then lost to Saudi Arabia in its opener. It has run the table since then. If Messi plays Tuesday it will mark his 25th World Cup appearance, tying Germany’s Lothar Matthaus for most ever. Messi is second in this tournament with four goals and, with two assists, has participated in six of this team’s nine goals in Qatar. Argentina’s 32 shots on goal are second only to Brazil.

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