Comparing Lionel Messi and Luka Modric’s World Cup stats

Argentina and Croatia are set to lock horns in the World Cup semi-final as Lionel Messi and Luka Modric will go up against each other once again on the biggest stage.

Croatia have once again proven the doubters wrong and have reached the World Cup semi-final for the second tournament in a row. Modric has played a vital role in their success so far.

Still going strong at 37 years old, Modric hasn’t showcased any signs of slowing down. Croatia managed to defy the odds and narrowly edged past Brazil in the previous round.

Funnily enough, Croatia have actually only won one match at the tournament so far in regular time. Their singular win came against Canada in the group stages and the rest of their matches have been level after 90 minutes. They have proven to be penalty experts though with two shootout wins so far.

In what is likely to be his final World Cup, Messi has not disappointed. In what has been arguably his best-ever World Cup campaign already, Messi looks like a man on a mission.

The 35-year-old is well within the race for the Golden Boot with four goals to his name already. He has also provided two assists and makes the entire Argentina side tick.

Rio Ferdinand lavished Messi with praise following their win over Australia and lauded his performance as the best of the tournament.

He told BBC Sport: “Messi has put on the best individual performance we’ve seen at this World Cup so far, by a mile. Showboating, laying shots on a plate for teammates, and the crowd – it was almost god-like, after every single thing he does.”

Alan Shearer added: “What a second half performance from him, and the first half with his goal. We’ve spoken about his ability many times before, the hunger and desire and ability to run with the ball attracts so many defenders to him which then frees up his teammates.

“He’s embarrassing players but with his head up. You know a player goes through a cluster of players their head’s down usually, but he’s taking people on and seeing the pitch, his spacial awareness is phenomenal.”

We’ve crunched the numbers and compared Messi’s World Cup record to that of Modric.

Lionel Messi

Games: 24
Starts: 22
Sub appearances: 2

Goals: 10
Assists: 7
Penalties scored: 2

Minutes per goal: 210.4
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 263
Minutes per goal or assist: 123.8

World Cups: Five

2006: Three appearances, one goal, one assist. Quarter-final.

2010: Five appearances, no goals, one assist. Quarter-final.

2014: Seven appearances, four goals, one assist. Runner-up.

2018: Four appearances, one goal, two assists. Round of 16.

2022: Five appearances, four goals, two assists – TBC

Luka Modric

Games: 17
Starts: 15
Sub appearances: 2

Goals: 2
Assists: 1
Penalties scored: 1

Minutes per goal: 738.5
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 1477
Minutes per goal or assist: 492.3

World Cups: Four

2006: Two appearances, no goal, no assist. Group Stage.

2014: Three appearances, no goal, no assist. Group Stage.

2018: Seven appearances, two goals, one assist. Runner-up.

2022: Five appearances, no goal, no assist – TBC

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