ᑕ❶ᑐ World Cup 2022: Argentina v Croatia – Lionel Messi and Luka Modric battle it out in the final

Host country: Qatar Destination: November 20-December 18 Cover: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Daily TV programsFull coverage details

Two emblematic Ballon d’Or number 10. Two World Cup finalists lost. Two captains. One last chance to finally reach the pinnacle of football and lift the famous trophy before retirement.

It’s hard to watch Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Croatia’s Luka Modric make the difference in Tuesday’s first World Cup semi-final.

With Paris St-Germain’s Messi on 35 and Real Madrid’s Modric on 37, a final or third place finish this weekend is likely to be the end of their World Cup careers.

So how do the two compare and which country will take on France or Morocco in Sunday’s final?

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How do they compare to this World Cup?

A fan with a half and half jersey in Lionel Messi and Luka Modric’s banner before the round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia

Both players were instrumental in their country’s run at this World Cup, winning on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Messi threw the first shot Argentina beat the Netherlands, Modric scored Croatia’s third point Defeat Brazil, the favorites of the tournament.

Modric is the first player to score three penalties at a World Cup (also against Denmark and Russia in 2018).

In 90 or 120 minutes, Messi has the advantage. He has four goals and two assists, while Modric is yet to register a goal or assist – despite Messi playing up front and Modric operating in midfield.

Barcelona’s legendary football player Messi accurately executed the penalty against Saudi Arabia, scored a goal and assisted in the game against Mexico, and escaped from the penalty against Poland in the group stage.

He scored the opening goal against Australia in the round of 16 and scored the first goal against the Netherlands in the quarter final, scoring in the 73rd minute and again in the shootout.

Speaking on BBC One, Martin Keown said: “Lionel Messi continues to produce. It was a really quality penalty. He is in top form. His confidence and trust carry over to his colleagues. »

After Argentina’s victory over Australia, former England defender Rio Ferdinand said: “The best individual performance by a player in this World Cup. It was almost divine. I have never seen anything like it. »

and old Argentina his team-mate Pablo Zabaleta said: “I think Messi knows this is his last World Cup and you can really see he’s enjoying it.”

Former “Tottenham Hotspur” midfielder Modric caught the attention of Mika Richards during Croatia’s quarter-final match against Brazil.

“We thought it would be his last World Cup,” the former England defender told BBC One. “He dictated some passes, controlling the pace – with his own pace, and Brazil didn’t know what to do. »

Modric was substituted before the penalty shootout in Croatia’s round of 16 win over Japan, but stayed on against Brazil.

“Again, Luka led the team for 120 minutes” Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic said. “It’s amazing how he plays for his age and he never gets tired.

“When we dropped back, we were thinking about substituting a midfielder and we asked him how he was doing. He said that he is always ready. He showed once again that he is one of the best players in the world. »

Messi has more shots (25) and more on target (12) than anyone else at the World Cup – in both cases tied with Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate. Mbappe leads him 5-4 in the Golden Boot race.

Only four players completed more passes in the final third than Modric’s 201; Messi is eighth in the list with 171 points. Modric has the fifth most assists in the tournament, 28.

Modric was even more impressive on the pitch, with only two players winning more possession (39) or making more interceptions (eight) than the Croatian.

In the less scientific BBC Sport player ratings chosen by our readers, Messi has a five-game average of 7.01 and Modric 7.46.

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How do their international heritages compare?

It was one of those two defeats in the finals of the last two World Cups.

In 2014 Argentina, led by Messi, lost to Germany with a score of 1:0 and Mario Götze’s overtime goal. Four years ago, Modric Croatia won against France with a score of 4:2.

Both won the Ballon d’Or, the award for the best player of the tournament. And both have potential milestones to hit in Tuesday’s game.

Messi will equal Lothar Matthaus’ record for most World Cup appearances (25). He would break the German’s record in a third-place final or playoff this weekend.

Messi scored 10 goals in the World Cup. Only seven players have scored more – Germany’s Miroslav Klose is the leader with 16. He is only one behind Hungary’s Sandor Kocsic and Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann, and two behind Pele.

He already holds the record for most assists in a World Cup play-off game and in the last game surpassed the old record held by Brazilian great Pele.

Messi has both scored and assisted in three different World Cup matches, including two this year. No player has done it in four games since the feat was first recorded in 1966.

He scored 95 goals in 170 games – two national records.

Modric played 160 games for the Croatian national team and scored 23 national goals.

Modric will become the oldest winger to make six World Cup appearances, beating Brazilian winger Nilton Santos, who turned 37 in 1962.

He has played in the most World Cups (17) and most major tournaments (30) for Croatia – before that semi-final.

Messi has the Copa America to show for his international career, while Modric has yet to win a trophy.

There is also a nice symmetry between the careers of the players. Messi scored his first goal for Argentina and Modric made his debut for Croatia in the same game – a March 2006 friendly in which Croatia won 3-2.

What about their overall career?

This semi-final will be Messi’s 1002nd career appearance for club and country. He scored 790 goals and had 339 assists.

Modric’s career numbers are harder to know, with less well-documented spells for Dinamo Zagreb, Zrinjski Mostar and Inter Zapresic in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Both won the Ballon d’Or 7 times in 2018, Messi and Modric. Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo and French striker Karim Benzema are the only other players to have won since 2007.

Modric has won five Champions Leagues, while Messi has won four and two national titles.

Messi Modric
Games 559 434
Objectives 487 38
Aids 216 65
win % 73.5 61.5%
* Modric’s other Croatian and Bosnian league cup matches and statistics are not included

It will be the 27th time they have met, including the 22nd in El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Modric dominates with 12 wins to Messi’s 9.

Unfortunately, both players will be retiring in the coming years, so we’ll have to enjoy them while they’re still active.

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World Cup 2022: Argentina v Croatia - Lionel Messi and Luka Modric battle it out in the final

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World Cup 2022: Argentina v Croatia - Lionel Messi and Luka Modric battle it out in the final

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