2018 World Cup Group D was labelled the ‘group of death’ following the draw for the tournament and we have another cracking match to look forward to on Thursday night as Argentina play Croatia.
This is a huge match for both teams, who came into the World Cup as many peoples’ favourites to do well in Russia. However, Argentina know they cannot afford to drop points in this game if they are to leave qualification in their own hands in the final match against Nigeria.
Croatia can give themselves a great chance of qualification if they win this game and will definitely top the group with one match remaining.
Argentina were poor in qualifying from the South America region and this translated into their performance in the first match against Iceland. Despite taking the lead in the match through Sergio Aguero, Argentina were forced to settle for a draw against the World Cup debutants.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty and having seen Cristiano Ronaldo perform in the manner he did against Spain; the Barcelona forward will be keen to show what he can do on the biggest stage of all against Croatia.
However, Argentina are undefeated in their last five World Cup games and there have been under 2.5 goals in six of their last seven.
The 2-0 win means Croatia are undefeated in their last five World Cup games and they know a point in this and their final match against Iceland will probably be enough to see them through to the Round of 16.
While never really tested against Nigeria, the Croatian midfield looks very strong and this is where they will be hoping to get the upper hand over Argentina. If Croatia can control the midfield with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic on the ball, they have a great chance of taking something from this game.
Looking ahead to the team news and Argentina could look to make some changes following the 1-1 draw with Iceland. Marcos Acuna, Enzo Perez, Cristian Pavon and Gabriel Mercado are all pushing for a place in the starting XI and that could see Angel Di Maria, Maximiliano Meza, Lucas Biglia and Marcos Rojo dropping to the bench.
Croatia are likely to keep a similar starting XI to that which played against Nigeria. The only change could see Marcelo Brozovic come into midfield.
Argentina vs Croatia Predictions:
- BTTS: NO
- Croatia to win