World Cup semi-finals: The battle of the 10s

The first of the two semi-finals of the World Cup kicks off tonight at 10 pm Kenyan time, pitting 2018 finalists Croatia against 2014 finalists Argentina.

This is likely to be the last stab at the World Cup for two iconic Ballon d’Or winning number 10s; 35-year-old Lionel Messi and 37-year-old Luka Modric who are both skippers for their squads.

The two iconic playmakers go toe to toe as far as stats are concerned, with both being significantly crucial to their country’s runs to this point in the World cup finals.

In the quarter-finals stage, Messi scored the first spot kick against the Netherlands as Argentina ended up progressing to the semis 3-4 on penalties.

On the other hand, Modric was third to step up in their penalty shootout against Brazil knocking out tournament favorites Brazil 4-2 on penalties.

Messi and Modric are certainly not new to one other, as they went toe to toe in the center of the park during el classics in the Spanish La Liga in 2012 when Modric joined Real Madrid on a £30 million transfer fee.

Of course, Messi had been at Barcelona longer since 2003.

Statistically, Messi has had 25 shots and 12 on target in the World cup, this is more than anyone, in the World Cup so far. France sensation and Paris Saint- Germain teammate comes in second on both accounts. He however leads Messi in the Race for the golden boot.

As far as playmaking is concerned Modric absolutely floors Messi, only 4 players have made more successful passes in the final third than Modric’s 201. Messi comes in a distant 8th on the list with 171. Modric is 5th on the log when it comes to crosses whipped into box 28 in the tournament.

Defensively, Modric has an edge over the ‘G.O.A.T’ apparent. Modric is third on the log as the player who has won possession most times at 39 or has more interceptions at 8.

Both have however won the Golden Ball, the award for the tournament’s best player, and both certainly have the potential to set up a cracker, in the semi-final tonight, laying one hand on the coveted trophy and the bragging rights of having conquered the world

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