Today’s Predictions: Argentina Vs Croatia
Argentina 0 – 3 Croatia
The 23rd match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup sees South American giants Argentina take on current group leaders Croatia in a must win match for Lionel Messi’s men.
- Date : 21st June 2018
- Time : 11:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
The first round of fixtures saw a huge shock as Lionel Messi’s Argentina failed to break down an inspired Icelandic side, and now find themselves trailing behind Croatia in Group D. Croatia would be looking to atleast get a draw, to effectively seal top spot.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Argentina were in grave danger of not qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2018, with unexpected defeats at home to Paraguay and Ecuador, and a crushing 3-0 defeat in Brazil. The ‘Albiceleste’ changed 3 different managers across the qualification phase, and their dependence on Messi was highlighted as they failed to win the games which his missed due to injury. It took a special performance from their best player in the final qualifier to secure a spot in the tournament, with Messi scoring a stunning hattrick against Ecuador.
Croatia had a decent qualifying phase, where the overall quality of their midfield was the primary reason that they managed to finish second behind Iceland in the group, to set up a play-off tie against Greece. The Croats won that play-off comfortably, enhancing their reputation as play-off specialists as the final score read 4-1.
Argentina have endured a mixed run of form in recent weeks. They have won 4 out of their last 6 matches, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Italy. However, they conceded 10 goals in two crushing defeats to Spain and Nigeria, making fans extremely worried about their fragile defense.
Croatia have been going through a mixed run of form in recent months, with 3 wins and 2 defeats in their last 6 matches. They secured an impressive away victory against Mexico in tough conditions, to prove their mettle away from home as well, but were soon humbled by Brazil a week later. They were looking to re-organize before the tournament starts to make full use of the undisputed talent at their disposal, and that’s exactly what they did as they convincingly won their opening game.
Argentina and Croatia in the World Cup So Far
Argentina succumbed to a shock 1-1 draw against World Cup debutants Iceland in their opening fixture, with Lionel Messi largely disappointing, none more so than when he missed a penalty that would have given them the lead. Their defence looked shaky again and that is a major worry for this top-heavy side.
Croatia looked dominant from the first minute against a decent Nigerian side, and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory to take sport in the group. A draw here would see them more or less confirm top spot in the league.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met 4 times before, with Argentina winning twice and Croatia winning just 1 of those games.
Argentina pulled off one of the biggest surprises when it came to squad selection, when they left out Serie A’s top scorer Mauro Icardi, with rumours of a rift between the striker and Lionel Messi. However, Manuel Lanzini’s ACl tear has ensured that he will miss the World Cup, and Icardi might be selected to take his place. Apart from that, goalkeeper Sergio Romero has also been ruled out due to injury.
Croatia have a fully fit squad to choose from, with Ivan Rakitic also brushing off his injury scare. They tend to pack the midfield and then play with a sole target man, a tactic which has seen them fend of sides much bigger than them in recent times. Many of their players play for some of the biggest clubs in world football, and would be targeting a deep run in this year’s World Cup.
Players To Watch Out For
Argentina have an abundance of attacking talent. So many world-class players that it is difficult to mention just a few of them. Lionel Messi is the undisputed best player in the squad, and the team will revolve around him Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are more than capable of sharing the goal-scoring burden with him, while the young Paulo Dybala would like to announce himself on the big stage. The experienced Angel Di Maria is also one to watch as he can turn the game around single handedly.
Croatia have one of the most talented midfields in Europe, with Real Madrid pair Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic pulling the strings behind Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Inter pair Perisic and Brozovic. With a front 3 of Mandzukic, Kalinic and Kramaric, Croatia have the potential to cause massive upsets in this tournament. Dejan Lovren and Corluka are the big names in defence.
Argentina Vs Croatia Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- Argentina are the slight favourites to win this match, but Croatia are looking very confident as well, and we strongly recommend betting on a draw in this match.
- Croatia’s David Suker won the golden boot at the 1998 World Cup, as the team won 5 matches. In contrast, they scored 6 goals in the group stages at the 2014 World Cup but still could not make it past the group stage.
- With the attacking talent at Argentina’s disposal, combined with the fertile midfield of Croatia, we expect plenty of goals in this match, and hence we recommend betting on the above 2.5 goals market as well as the both teams to score market.
- Lionel Messi to score the first goal is also a bet we recommend, as he would be looking to comeback from his penalty miss horror from the first match.
Argentina were the initial favourites to top Group D, however, that mantle has now been taken by Croatia after the first round of fixtures. The South Americans will be looking to make a comeback however we do not expect them to easily get past this Croatian side.
Our Predicted Scoreline: Argentina 2-2 Croatia.