Lionel Messi is two wins away from securing his first FIFA World Cup trophy, and the next country he and Argentina will be facing is Croatia on Tuesday.
If Croatia wants to advance to a second straight World Cup final, one of the European side’s tasks is to make sure Messi has a quiet night. However, despite knowing the task of quieting the 35-year-old, he’s not the sole focus of their game plan.
Croatian striker Bruno Petkovic spoke with the media on Sunday and spotlighted that the team doesn’t have their full attention on Messi.
“We don’t have a specific plan yet for stopping Messi and usually we don’t concentrate on stopping one player but the entire team,” Petkovic told reporters (h/t Reuters).
“We will try to stop them as a team and not with man-marking. Argentina are not only Messi; they have a number of great players. We have to stop the entire Argentina team.”
Croatia is coming off defeating Brazil and Japan in this knockout stage, so they have wins against quality opponents and aren’t in the semifinals by accident. Meanwhile, Argentina eliminated Australia and the Netherlands, but they had to suffer scares in both wins.
Whoever comes away with the win likely comes down to which No. 10 has the most impact in the matchup, Messi or Luka Modric.