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Messi to equal World Cup appearance record, Argentina make two changes

Argentina forward Lionel Messi will make his 25th World Cup start for Argentina on Tuesday. Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP

Argentina star Lionel Messi was set to equal Lothar Matthaus’ record for the most World Cup appearances with his 25th start in Tuesday’s semi-final against Croatia.

Midfielder Leandro Paredes and defender Nicolas Tagliafico were brought into Argentina’s starting line-up.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni drafted in Tagliafico in place of the suspended left-back Marcos Acuna and Paredes took the spot of centre-half Lisandro Martinez.

The switch means Argentina are likely to revert to four at the back rather than the five-man defence with advanced wing-backs that they used in the penalty shoot-out win over the Netherlands.

Scaloni sticks with the same forward line he operated against the Dutch with Messi playing behind Julian Alvarez.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic named an unchanged team to the one which beat Brazil on penalties in the last eight with Andrej Kramaric starting as the central striker.

Forward Bruno Petkovic, whose late goal in extra-time forced the game into a penalty shoot-out, starts on the bench again.

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