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Argentina plotting to ‘provoke’ Croatia – media

The two nations collide in Qatar on Tuesday

Argentine players are planning to antagonize their Croatian rivals in the teams’ World Cup semifinal on Tuesday, a media report has claimed.

Led by Lionel Messi, Argentina continue their pursuit of a first World Cup title since 1986 when they face Croatia at the Lusail Stadium.

Both teams booked their spot in the last four with shootout victories, with 2018 finalists Croatia overcoming Brazil after their quarterfinal ended 1-1 in extra time.

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Argentina beat the Netherlands on spot kicks after a tempestuous game had finished 2-2 following a stunning late Dutch comeback.

The fiery contest featured a record 18 yellow cards dished out by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz – including to two members of Argentina’s coaching staff – as well as a red card to the Netherlands’ Denzel Dumfries following the shootout.

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Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the team's second goal during the World Cup Quarter Final match between Netherlands and Argentina
Messi hits out at Dutch coach after hot-tempered World Cup clash (VIDEO)

Croatian media outlet Sportske Novosti claims to have heard through a member of the Croatia squad about a supposed Argentine dirty tricks campaign to rile their rivals.

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According to the outlet, players from Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina team let on during a discussion with a Croatian player who is at the same club in Europe.

“An Argentine player, as we were told, admitted… that they were given the task of provoking and instructions on how to throw the Croats off course,” alleged the report.  

It did not name the player in question or details of the supposed tactics, but added that Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic had been informed of the purported plot.

“This is a tactic that was seen in Argentina already in the match with the Netherlands, in a match of high tensions,” added the outlet.

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The report claimed that personal insults could be dished out and warned the Croatian team to be on their guard.


READ MORE: World Cup semifinals: What you need to know

Among the Croatian squad is reserve goalkeeper Ivo Grbic, who plays at Atletico Madrid – home to three members of the Argentine group.

Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is at Inter Milan, where Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez also plays his club football.

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Elsewhere, Croatia’s Ivan Perisic and Argentina’s Cristian Romero are both at English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur.

Friends will become foes when the two teams take to the pitch in Qatar on Tuesday night with World Cup glory at stake. 

December 12, 2022 at 07:51PM
RT

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