The Vatreni will be hoping to book their spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals as they prepare to face Argentina on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will get underway as Argentina and Croatia battle for a spot in the final. La Albiceleste and the Vatreni, coincidentally, have met twice before at World Cups, with the most recent meeting going in the Croatians' favor as they cruised to a 3-0 win in the group stage back in 2018.

This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams in the knockout rounds, and while many have pitted Argentina to go through thanks to the presence of none other than Lionel Messi, there are some interesting trends that could tip this match in Croatia's favor.

Let's have a look at some of them.

1. Argentina's lousy record against European sides

Despite the fact that La Albiceleste are rated among the world's top teams and come into this contest having won the recent Copa America, their record against European sides is not impressive. Indeed, the South American powerhouse have struggled against teams from UEFA at World Cups, with just one win in their last seven ties (L3 D3).

That sole win was against Poland, in this year's group stages. While they did defeat the Netherlands via penalty shoot-out, the match had finished as a draw after Argentina threw away a two goal advantage. Hence, Croatia will certainly be fancying their chances against a team whose defense has looked suspect at times.

2. At some point, you will have to beat Argentina

Four years ago, France defeated Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 to dump them out en route to winning the title. A look back at World Cups since the turn of the 21st century reveals an interesting fact - the eventual winners either beat Argentina, or were the indirect beneficiaries of Argentina being beaten by another opponent.

Specifically, in 2014, Germany famously defeated them 1-0 in the final to win their fourth title. In 2010, winners Spain didn't play Argentina, but rather took on Germany in the semi-finals. Die Mannschaft had done Spain a huge "favor" by dispatching Argentina following a comfortable 4-0 victory in the quarter-finals. 

Back in 2006, again, eventual winners Italy never faced Argentina, but they benefited from Germany's 4-2 penalty win over Argentina in the quarter-finals.

And in 2002, England knocked Argentina out of the group stages thanks to their 1-0 win. The Three Lions would then go on to face Brazil, who beat them 2-1 in the quarter-finals en route to winning their fifth World Cup.

So, it's safe to say that based on World Cups since 2002, the eventual champion either had to beat Argentina or benefited from taking on an opponent who had helped them out in one way or another.

3. A precedent has been set

Speaking of Germany, die Mannschaft are the first team to defeat both Brazil and Argentina in the same World Cup competition. Croatia have already knocked out one South American side, and should they overcome Argentina on Tuesday, they will become the second. While they will face a tough test against France (or even Morocco), defeating both those two teams will certainly set them up nicely to take on whoever will be their upcoming opponent in the final. 

4. No fear under pressure

Once again, Croatia have had to navigate their way to this stage the hard way - except this time, the opposition arguably was much tougher, especially in the quarter-finals. This year saw them beat both Japan and Brazil on penalties; four years ago, they knocked out first Denmark, then surprise quarter-finalists Russia, again on penalties. 

So, while the prospect of facing Messi and company from 12 yards out will seem intimidating, the Vatreni will be more than up the task having already eliminated Brazil. Shot-stopper Dominik Livakovic has already matched an impressive tournament record, having saved four penalties so far, and Croatia are now joint-tied with Germany for the most penalty shoot-outs won at World Cups (four).

However the team who has won the most? None other than Argentina, who have won five.

5. Croatia have done it before

It's often said that once one does something, it's likely one can do it again. Croatia have already beaten Argentina, and given that it was four years ago, many of the same players are still in the Argentinian squad. Their 3-0 win left no shadow of a doubt who the better team was on that day, and while Tuesday's match will be way bigger than a group stage - especially with what's at stake - many Vatreni fans and neutrals will be feeling confident that Dalic's side can do it once again and book their spot in the finals for the second consecutive tournament.

*Argentina vs Croatia will kick off on Tuesday, December 13th. Check out our full match preview for viewing times and options for your current location.