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FIFA World Cup 2022: We must respect Croatia, says Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez ahead of semi-final

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Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez said that his team will have to show respect to Croatia during their semi-final clash in the World Cup. Both teams qualified for the final four round with penalty shootout wins over the Netherlands and Brazil respectively.

India Today Web Desk
New Delhi,UPDATED: Dec 10, 2022 16:58 IST

Martinez said that Argentina will need to respect Croatia (Courtesy: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez said that they will have to respect Croatia during their semi-final in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Argentina qualified for the final four stages with a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands after a heated affair on Friday. The Albiceleste had a two-goal lead before the Dutch fought back and levelled the scores thanks to a brace from Wout Weghorst.

In the penalties, Emiliano Martinez was the hero as he saved the first two spot kicks from the Netherlands before Lautaro wrapped things up to record a memorable win.

Croatia entered the semi-finals by knocking out Brazil in the first quarterfinal match on Friday. After Neymar had given Selecao the lead in the 106th minute. The Croatian team bounced back and scored in the 117th minute through Bruno Petkovic and took the game to penalties.

Brazil missed two of their spotkicks as Croatia won the shootout by a margin of 4-2.

Speaking to Sportitalia, as quoted by Football Italia, Martinez confirmed his agent’s claim that he had been playing with an ankle issue. He also said that he was grateful for the support he has got from Inter Milan.

The Argentine forward said that his team will have to respect Croatia in the semi-final. Martinez then said that Brazil’s elimination from the World Cup was a big blow for South American football.

“I am sorry for that especially because I’ve been having pain-killing injections in my ankle. Scaloni and my teammates have always backed me,” he told Sportitalia.

“I spoke to Inzaghi and Inter’s directors and I am grateful for the support they always show me. Surely, it won’t be easy against Croatia, they have many quality and experienced players. They played the last Final and we must respect them, recover energy and think about our job.

“Brazil’s elimination is a big blow for South American football, but we must think about ourselves, we are so happy to have qualified.”

Argentina will face Croatia on Tuesday in the semi-finals.


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