The first semifinal of the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be played between Argentina and Croatia at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday night. The match will kick-off at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST).
Two-time world champion Argentina reached the semifinals after it beat the Netherlands in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout.
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Lionel Scaloni’s side started its Qatar World Cup campaign suffering a 0-2 shock loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener before bouncing back with wins over Poland and Mexico. These wins helped Argentina top its group. In the round of 16 clash, it beat Australia 2-1.
In the semifinal, Argentina will be out to avenge the 0-3 defeat it was meted out by Croatia in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Meanwhile, Croatia has been unbeaten so far, with the European side finishing second in its group with a win and two draws behind Morocco. In the knockouts, Zlatko Dalic’s side beat Japan in round of 16 and Brazil in the quarterfinal to seal its place in the semifinal.
Argentina and Croatia have met five times till date in international fixtures. Both sides won twice, while the remaining match ended in a stalemate. In the World Cup, no side holds a clear edge as Argentina beat Croatia 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup, and Croatia levelled the head-to-head tally 1-1 in Russia four years back with a resounding 3-0 win.
Italian referee Daniele Orsato will be in charge of the proceedings tonight.
Who is Orsato?
Orsato is a 47-year-old referee. He has experience officiating Serie A, UEFA Euro, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup matches.
The Italian referee officiated the first match of this World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador which the South American side won 2-0. He booked six players.
Orsato did not oversee any matches in the round of 16 and quarterfinals.
In the semifinal between Argentina and Croatia, he will be among familiar faces, with Serie A regulars Lautaro Martinez, Marcelo Brozovic, Angel Di Maria, Ivan Perisic, Leandro Paredes, Nikola Vlasic and Paulo Dybala likely to play the match.
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This is Orsato’s second match involving Croatia and Argentina. While Argentina’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the Qatar World Cup was his second game of this edition, Osrato also oversaw Croatia’s 0-1 defeat to England at the Euro in 2021. In those two matches, he issued ten yellow cards.
Orsato will be under the spotlight in the semifinal as Argentina, Portugal, and the Netherlands players accused referees of poor refereeing in the quarterfinals.
On Tuesday night, Orsato will be assisted by compatriots Ciro Carbone and Alessandro Giallatini on the field. Mohammed Abdulla Mohamed of the United Arab Emirates is the fourth official. Italian Massimiliano Irrati will be in charge of VAR.