Argentina misses Romero’s Service; Croatia inflicts humiliating 0-3 defeat

Messi looks dejected after Argentina conceding a goal

  • Croatia beats Argentina 3-0 to advance to last 16
  • With one point  in Group D, Argentina stands on brink of elimination
Croatia secured a place in Round of 16 for the second time in their history after beating Argentina 3-0 in their second group match. With Lionel Messi failed to provide any inspiration to Argentina, Argentina lacked the penetration in their game, though they control the proceedings with 58% ball possession.

The Croatians were content to sit back in the first half, aware that Jorge Sampaoli’s side had the greater need to attack. Messi and Aguero were largely seen to look awkward and unimpressive to force challenge to Croatia defence. And when the South Americans finally carved out a clear-cut opportunity, Enzo Perez could not keep the ball in target.

Showing more ambition after the restart, the Croatians promptly revealed the shortcomings of their opponents’ defence. A penetrating presence on the right, Ante Rebic scored the first goal with a superb volley, capitalising Willy Caballero erroneous clearance.

Sampaoli made number of changes in Argentina team. Benching Marcos Rojo and Angelo Di Maria, he brought Enzo Perez. He also brought on Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Cristian Pavon during the game. They, all showed flashes of inspiration after coming on, but that did not change Argentinian fortune. Taking full advantage of Argentina’s lack of composure of defence, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic both scored to compound their misery. The worst part is when Rakitic scored, entire Argentina defence were mere spectators. Luka Mordic scored brilliantly with a right footer from a distance and Rakitic from a rebound from Caballero.

With this result today the situation has increasingly become difficult for Argentina. Now they will be looking at results of other matches in their group. They must win Nigeria match to proceed through the Round of 16.

The injury of experienced Sergio Romero has hurt their causes as the mistakes of Willy Cabllero under the bar has brought the two time world champion on the brink of elimination.

Argentina (5-3-2)

GK: Willy Caballero

D: Nicolás Tagliafico, Marcos Acuña, Nicolás Otamendi, Gabriel Mercado, Eduardo Salvio

M:Javier Mascherano, Maximiliano Meza, Enzo Perez

F: Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero

Croatia (4-3-3):

GK: Danijel Subasic

D: Sime Vrsaljko, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida

M: Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic

F: Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic, Mario Mandzukic

Match Highlights: Argentina vs Croatia

Man of the Match: Luka Mordic