Croatia Demolishes Argentina 3-0: Is It Over For Messi And Team?
on Jun 22, 2018 07:49 AM EDT
Argentina is close to kissing their World Cup hopes goodbye following a 3-0 loss on Thursday against Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod.
FC Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, and Ante Rebic all hit the target for Croatia, which took the lead in Group D with six points. Prior to the match, the Croatians are coming off dominating 2-0 victory over Nigeria. With the victory, Croatia snagged its first knockout-round ticket since the 1998 World Cup, wherein they wound up in third place.
Bad Start For Argentina
Following a 1-1 draw against Iceland on their opening match, it seems like that nothing could go right for Argentina. After a scoreless opening half, the Croatians immediately pushed the tempo in the second half, allowing Argentinian goalkeeper Willy Caballero to commit a costly mistake. Smelling blood in the pitch, the Croatians capitalized on the head-scratching mistake of Caballero as Rebic scored an exquisite goal in the 53rd minute to give his country a 1-0 lead.
Croatia continued to pound the Argentinian wall with a series of attacks that resulted in a world-class 80th-minute goal of Modric to take a comfortable 2-0 advantage. Rakitic sealed the deal with another goal in the 91st minute to snuff the life out of Argentina, which has yet to win a single game in the tournament.
Regardless of the victory, Modric believes that the team still has a lot of work to do to replicate or improve Croatia's 1998 World Cup performance. The Croatians will close out the group stage against Iceland on Tuesday.
"Of course this win will boost our confidence for the next game, and we have shown we can create opportunities, but let's keep our feet firmly on the ground," Modric said.
Will Messi Finally Show Up?
Ranked as the most valuable player in the transfer market, Argentinian forward Lionel Messi hasn't been living up to the hype in this edition of the World Cup. The 30-year-old Messi, who will turn a year older, failed to score a single goal in the previous matches of Argentina in the tournament.
He also failed to convert a penalty that would've given the Argentinians the victory over Iceland in their opening match. The loss to Croatia put the Argentinians in the brink of elimination after finishing its last two games with just a single point.
Messi and the rest of Argentina will have its last chance to salvage their World Cup campaign when it takes on Nigeria on Tuesday. Nigeria beat Argentina 4-2 last November.