We are at Day 8 of FIFA World Cup 2018 and today’s last game is going to be a thriller. Argentina VS Croatia – what a clash this is set to be! Grab your popcorn buckets and get yourself in front of your television sets as you are about to witness a historic battle tonight.
Argentina will be looking to get their World Cup back on track with a victory against a savvy Croatian side on Thursday evening at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Take a look at what went wrong for Argentina in their last match.
La Albiceleste stuttered in their opening game against Iceland, eventually drawing 1-1 with the European side. Much of the headlines were about Leo Messi failing to put his side into the lead from the penalty spot. However, the major concern for Jorge Sampaoli will be his side’s failure to break down a side who sat so deep in the game.
In a press conference, Sampaoli said “When Argentina don’t win, we attribute responsibility to Leo. There are 40 of us at this World Cup. The team will be together when things go well and when things go badly.”
Much has been made of Sampaoli’s failure to put on Juventus man Paulo Dybala in the first game. The 24-year old is unlikely to start against Croatia, but certainly expect the playmaker to be called upon if Argentina struggles again.
Croatia put in a professional display to get the better of Nigeria 2-0 in their opening Group D game. A shock victory for the Croatians will all but seal their place in the knockout rounds. The European side looked brilliant at times against Nigeria, keeping possession well and controlling the pace of the content. Take a look at what went right for Croatia in their last game , click here.
The midfield pairing of Ivan Rakitić & Luca Modric will be crucial if Croatia is to pull off the win. Their work rate and passing ability will be vital if Croatia is to halt the influence of Leo Messi.
This will be the fifth meeting between Argentina and Croatia, with the South Americans winning twice to Croatia’s one.
Croatia have lost all four of their World Cup meetings with South American sides, once in each of the four tournaments they’ve played in.
Lionel Messi has scored in each of his two previous appearances against Croatia, including his first ever goal for Argentina (March 2006). But he has now failed to score with 21 successive shots in World Cup finals tournaments for Argentina. He last scored versus Nigeria on June 25 2014.
Croatia have scored in each of their last five World Cup games, their longest such streak in the competition.
Argentina: Caballero; Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Salvio, Mascherano, Meza, Acuna; Messi, Aguero, Pavon.
Croatia: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rakitic, Badelj; Brozovic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic.
SPORTSANALYST SCORE LINE PREDICTION:
ARGENTINA 2 – 0 CROATIA
WHERE TO WATCH:
It promises to be an interesting tie as Argentina will be looking to pick up their first victory at the 2018 World Cup. Catch live action on Sony LIV (https://www.sonyliv.com/ ) at 11.30 p.m. (IST).