Argentina vs. Croatia: Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips

21st June 2018 – 19.00 GMT
Group D – Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod – TV: RTE


Argentina 4/5 | Draw 13/5 | Croatia 7/2

Argentina take on Croatia in what will be both nation’s second fixture at the World Cup finals. This is arguably the pick of the match-ups in Group D, with the two group favourites going head-to-head. With Iceland and Nigeria also hoping to reach the knockout phase, any slip-up here could prove costly for either Argentina or Croatia.

Predictions

This game is set to be finely balanced with Argentina slight favourites against the European side. Croatia though hold the advantage in the group after being the only side to win their opening fixture whilst each of the four sides are highly competitive but none are among the tournament favourites. However, Argentina are still priced at Evens to win here.

This is the second match of Group D between Argentina and Croatia, and it could prove pivotal in deciding who qualifies from the group. Jorge Sampaoli’s side were held by Iceland in the opening game which included Lionel Messi squandering a penalty, while Croatia defeated Nigeria 2-0.

Over/Under

Argentina have a notoriously shaky defence in recent times with their warm-up for the tournament including shipping four against Nigeria and six against Spain. Croatia carry a significant attacking threat and over 2.5 goals at 6/5 appears to represent value.

Both teams to score

There is a great deal of attacking talent on display here including Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Perisic. However, Croatia will likely play conservatively due to a strong start while Argentina will be wary of the counter-attacking threat. To bet against both teams scoring is available at 4/5.

  Argentina Draw Croatia
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STATISTICS

  • Argentina defeated Croatia 2-1 in their last meeting, a friendly in November 2014 while they won 1-0 in the 1998 World Cup
  • Lionel Messi has scored 64 international goals for Argentina, more than any other player for his country
     World Cup Top Scorer Odds – 16/1
  • The South American side suffered their heaviest ever international defeat earlier this year, losing 6-1 to Spain
  • Going into the tournament, Croatia had lost two of their last four matches and won only two of five
  • Croatia finished 3rd in the 1998 World Cup and are well on course to secure a last 16 place following a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening game
      Croatia to qualify for second round – 1/6

Head-to-Head

Argentina 2-1 Croatia – Friendly – 12th November, 2014
Croatia 3-2 Argentina – Friendly – 1st March, 2006
Argentina 1-0 Croatia – World Cup Group – 26th June, 1998
Croatia 0-0 Argentina – Friendly – 4th June, 1994

World Cup Qualifiers

Argentina

Unbelievably, for the majority of the CONMEBOL qualifying campaign, it looked as if Argentina could be set to miss out on the World Cup finals. Having hired Jorge Sampaoli as coach with four fixtures remaining, he could only muster three points from the first three matches. But a Lionel Messi hat-trick in the final game against Ecuador meant millions of Argentine football fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Top Goalscorers in Qualifiers

Lionel Messi – 7 goals

Angel Di Maria – 2 goals

Croatia

Croatia will have been disappointed to finish behind Iceland during qualification – a nation they go head-to-head with once again in Russia. A second place finish meant they had to come through a play-off. But they did so with ease, waltzing past Greece via a 4-1 aggregate scoreline.

Top Goalscorers in Qualifiers

Mario Mandzukic – 5 goals

Nikola Kalinic – 2 goals

Why Should I Bet On Argentina against Croatia?

1×2

Argentina weren’t at the level expected of a side containing Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi in their World Cup opener against Iceland. But some credit for that has to go to the Icelanders, who were resolute in defence and dangerous on the break. They nullified Argentina brilliantly.

That draw doesn’t mean Argentina will toil similarly in every fixture, because not every team will play with as much discipline as Iceland. Indeed, Croatia, with more attacking weapons in their side, will open up and attack a little more – potentially playing into Argentina’s hands by allowing more space on the pitch. The South Americans are available at 21/20 for the victory, with Croatia around 3/1 and the draw 12/5.

1st Goalscorer

He might have missed from the penalty spot against Iceland but you can’t avoid talking about Messi when it comes to goals. The Barcelona star is 16/5 to score the game’s first goal and doing so would go a long way towards making up for his miss from 12 yards. Aguero, who scored against Iceland, is also in the running at 5/1.

Croatia will look to Mario Mandzukic for goals and the hard-running Juventus striker is available at 7/1. Luka Modric – having shown Messi how to do it from the penalty spot in the 2-0 win over Nigeria – is an outsider at 16/1, but he certainly has the quality to decide any match.

Correct Score

Both these teams are perhaps better in attack than they are in defence – neither Nicolas Otamendi nor Dejan Lovren truly convince as commanding leaders of the back line – so goals could be on the cards. A correct score of 2-2 is available at 18/1 and while it wouldn’t do much to help Argentina in progressing out of the group stage, it would make for quite a spectacle.

Argentina might however feel they can suffocate Croatia, starve them of the ball and grab a few goals without being in danger of conceding. A 2-0 Argentina win is 8/1 and would put Jorge Sampaoli’s side back on track.

Lineups

Argentina

Goalkeepers: Willy Caballero, Franco Armani, Nahuel Guzman.

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado, Federico Fazio, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Taglafico, Javier Mascherano, Marcos Acuna, Cristian Ansaldi.

Midfielders: Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Angel Di María, Giovani Lo Celso, Manuel Lanzini, Cristian Pavon, Maximiliano Meza, Eduardo Salvio.

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero.

Croatia

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic, Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic.

Defenders: Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren , Sime Vrsaljko, Josip Pivaric, Tin Jedvaj , Duje Caleta-Car.

Midfielders: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic, Filip Bradaric.

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisi, Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric , Marko Pjaca , Ante Rebic.


argentinaArgentina

(Group D)

19:00

croatiaCroatia

Argentina 4/5 | Draw 13/5 | Croatia 7/2


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