Argentina vs Croatia
World Cup 2018 Group D
Date: Thursday, 21st June 2018
Kick-Off at 20:00 GMT +2
Venue: Stadion Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod.
Lionel Messi and his Argentina on Thursday evening will clash group leaders Croatia at Stadion Nizhny Novgorod.
The tournament in Russia will likely be the last chance for Lionel Messi (31-year-old) to lift his maiden World Cup silverware, but he got off to a nightmare start on Saturday as La Albiceleste will face hard times bouncing back against their main rivals in group D in the second round.
It was a rather dismal performance by the entire Argentine team on their opening day against Iceland. They just lacked the creativity up front relying heavily on Messi whose 11 shots on target did nothing to cause damage to Iceland’s rock-solid defensive line.
The Croats opened the tournament with a victory for the first time since 1998 when they defeated Jamaica 3-1 on their WC debut. They went on to win the third place later on back then, by far the greatest achievement in their football history.
Croatia possess a highly-talented squad this time around as well and seeing them make a deep run in Russia would by no means be a miracle, especially if the attacking line led by Kramaric and Mandzukic, improves later on.
The two sides met each other for four times in the past. Argentina lead the tie by a single win having won 2, drawn 1 and lost 1.
Croatia took a 3-2 victory in a friendly on their soil in March 2006, while Argentina came on top when the two sides met on the neutral venue of the Bolelyn Ground in London in November 2014 (2-1).
Croatia defeated Nigeria comfortably 2-0 thanks to an own-goal and a penalty.
Argentina lacked creativity against the Scandinavian World Cup debutants
Croatia to win: 4.12
Croatia and Argentina to draw: 3.32