It all boils down to the final four this week at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
Argentina and Croatia kick off the semi-final stage on Tuesday night, in a pairing of the 2018 runners-up and the South American hotshots.
The winners will meet reigning champions France or relentless underdogs Morocco, who meet in the other semi on Wednesday evening.
World Cup predictions and fixtures for 13 December
*All kick off times are in Central Africa Time.
Semi-final: Argentina vs Croatia – 21.00
It’s time for the semi-finals of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, starting with the meeting of Argentina and Croatia on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi and his side reached the last four in dramatic, argumentative and downright stressful fashion as they needed a penalty shootout to edge out old rivals the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
A glorious assist for Nahuel Molina’s opening goal and a penalty kick in normal time kept Messi front and centre of this competition.
But it threatened to go pear-shaped for the South Americans as battering ram forward Wout Weghorst came on to score twice at the death to force extra time.
Emi Martinez saved twice to deny the Dutch, however, allowing Lautaro Martinez to knock home the winner and end something of a fairytale for veteran coach Louis van Gaal on a bitter note, with a ridiculous 17 yellow cards doled out plus a red at the end for Denzel Dumfries.
Messi and Co came into the tie already knowing their opponents wouldn’t be continental foes Brazil.
The Selecao had endured their own penalty shootout drama and come out on the wrong side against the battle-hardened Croatians.
It looked to be game over for Zlatko Dalic’s side when an ailing Neymar pounced to put the Brazilians ahead halfway through extra-time, after neither side had managed to break the deadlock during regulation play.
But the European nation are never beaten.
Just three minutes remained on the extended clock when supersub Bruno Petkovic produced his side’s first shot on target of the game, forcing the dreaded shootout.
Dominik Livakovic saved Rodrygo’s first effort for the men in yellow, before watching on as his side popped in four perfect strikes to calm the nerves.
Then Marquinhos struck a post to leave his team in tears, their dream in tatters and coach Tite heading for the exit.
It also meant Modric et al are one step closer to recreating their outstanding run in Russia four years ago.
A possible rematch with France is very much on the cards, too, unless magical Morocco can spring yet another surprise in the desert heat on Wednesday.