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Argentina’s fate in Nigeria's hands

Argentina’s fate to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup is no longer in their hands as they got crushed by Croatia (3-0)

Last updated: 22.06.2018
Argentina's fate in Nigeria's hands | Sports Social Blog

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Argentina’s fate to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup is no longer in their hands as they got crushed by Croatia (3-0) in their second league game on Thursday. It was a very disappointing game for the Argentines, they were never in the game right throughout the 90 minutes. This is by far the most fragile Argentine squad that we are witnessing in World Cups. That spark, that passion and the craftsmanship that we are accustomed with the Argentine football, has been missing from these group of players.

Argentina is a team that depends heavily on Lionel Messi, we found that out in their opening game against Iceland. Croatia followed the same tactics. They blocked the supply line for Messi as a result, Messi wasn't able to get as many balls as he would have liked to make an impact in the game. On the other hand, Croats took the control of the midfield from the beginning and never let Argentina create any constructive move in the match. In order to break the Croatian defence, wing play was required. And that is where it was tough to fathom why Sampaoli never brought his main winger Angel Di Maria at any stage of the game. Sampaoli’s decision to replace Aguero within a minute after they conceded the first goal wasn't right either.

Croatia took the lead in 53 minutes of the match when Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero made a mistake of his life as he attempted a chip over Ante Rebic but totally miss-timed it. The Croatian winger took full advantage of it and struck a brilliant side volley into the roof of the net. Within a few minutes after that Luka Modric doubled Croatia's lead with a thundering strike from outside the penalty area. Right at the end, Rakitic put the ball in an empty net to give them a three-goal lead. With two wins in two matches, Croatia has sealed their spot in the last 16 from the Group D. For the second spot, all three teams have a chance. Argentina is in serious trouble as they only got 1 point in 2 matches so far. They will have to beat Nigeria in their last league game on June 26. But at the same time, they will have to depend on other results of their group. The outcome of the match between Nigeria and Iceland will be critical for Argentina. Jorge Sampaoli and the whole of Argentina will be desperately hoping that it will be a draw on Friday.


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