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Russia 2018: Croatia Advance, Argentina Face Early Exit After Thrashing

Russia 2018: Croatia Advance, Argentina Face Early Exit After Thrashing

By James Agberebi:

Croatia booked their place in the round of 16 of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup following their impressive 3-0 win against Argentina in Group D on Thursday.

Three second-half goals from Ante Rebic, skipper Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic sealed Croatia’s passage into their first appearance in the last 16 since their debut at France 1998.

At their last meeting at the World Cup in France 1998, Argentina edged Croatia 1-0 in the group stage.

Going into Thursday’s clash, Croatia had lost all four previous meetings against South American teams at the World Cup  (Argentina in 1998, Ecuador in 2002 Brazil in 2006 and Brazil again in 2014).

Croatia had the first real chance on goal in the fifth minute through Ivan Perisic who raced into the Argentine box but saw his low strike palmed away for a corner by Willy Caballero.

Maximiliano Meza went close for Argentina in the 13th minute only for Dejan Lovren to deny his goal-bound strike from inside the box with a superb block.

Enzo Perez had a golden chance to put Argentina ahead in the 30th minute following a mix-up in the Croatian defence only to see his low strike go just inches off target.

Two minutes later Mario Mandzukic had a big chance to put Croatia ahead after he appeared on the far post unmarked but saw his glancing header miss  the target.

Ante Rebic almost broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time following a break by Croatia but blasted his effort way off target.

Despite being on the back foot early in the second half, it was Croatia who took the lead on 53 minutes as Rebic pounced on a poor clearance by Caballero with a superb volley into an unguarded net. It was Croatia’s first shot at goal.

Argentina almost got the equaliser on 64 minutes only for Ivan Rakitic to deny Messi with a brilliant block for a corner.

A minute later Mandzukic should have extended Croat’s lead but his shot from a low cross hit the side netting.

In the 80th minute, Croatia went 2-0 up following a brilliant long range volley from Modric which flew past Caballero.

Rakitic should have extended Croatia’s lead on 86 minutes but his well struck free-kick came off the cross bar.

In the 91st minute, Rakitic made sure of the win as he walked the ball into the net off a pass after an Argentina player played him onside.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 19
  • Chairmanfemi 5 months ago

    Super Eagles are forgiven oo. 1st Goal- Owngoal
    2nd Goal- Penalty. Two cheap goals. But Argentina were badly. Everyone now see Nigeria did their best curtailing the Impressive Croatians. Nigeria’s got chance jare
    #SoarSuperEagles

    • Naija Man 5 months ago

      If you watched Croatia against Senegal and Brazil you wouldn’t have called them “impressive”. Croatia is not that great. You will find out after they reach the knock-out stage, May God watch over you and me until then and after. In my opinion, the best team in the Group remains ICELAND regardless of whether they qualify or not.

      • darko delach 5 months ago

        Croatia will play better and better. Look at Island 0 Croatia 5
        Than, maybe your poor team will have chance to, indeed.
        Dark O

  • Omesiete Blessing 5 months ago

    Croatia and Nigeria to advance. Never doubt the spirit of 9ja. God bless Nigeria

  • Haymaker 5 months ago

    Nigeria’s team is set up to tie not to win games. What do we expect with a slow and lazy playmaker? We have to do something drastic if we are to win the remaining 2 games. Even if we get a result against Croatia, Argentina will come out guns blazing in our last game.

  • CHYBYKE 5 months ago

    What affected Argentina is bad tactics and formation…if we are to beat Iceland we have to get everything right in order to get the maximum 3 points..I suggest the following…
    1.Victor Moses should be drafted at Right wing back..moses is no longer the player he used to be earlier in his career..we desperately need a result so moses will give more stability and more direct approach at right wing back
    2.3-5-2 formation is the answer
    3.Mikel should be drafted to a more defensive role
    4.Iwobi should drop to the bench..he seems to give more output when coming off the bench as we saw against Zambia
    5.Etebo should play a more advanced role he was arguably the best player against Croatia and he’s ability to take on players can be a plus
    6.Bryan idowu and shehu should be dropped..
    7.John Ogu should play in the left side of the three man defence
    8.Simy Nwankwo and Kelechi Ihenancho should be our main attackers…Nwankwo is a target man so he’ll help draw fouls,holdup play and go direct, Ihenancho direct running and touches will help stretch the tight Icelandic defence unlike the static Ighalo

  • Oakfield 5 months ago

    And where are those crucifying our team bcos they conceeded 2 careless unfortunate goals and lost to this same team that whipped Argentina mercilessly.they ain’t talking much now I guess. Up super eagles. Tomorrow is your day, just take the bull by the horn and advance.

  • Oakfield 5 months ago

    And where are those crucifying our team bcos they conceeded 2 careless unfortunate goals and lost to this same team that whipped Argentina mercilessly.they ain’t talking much now I guess. Up super eagles. Tomorrow is your day, just take the bull by the horn and advance.

  • Sunnyb 5 months ago

    Haymaker, kudos to you bro. Exactly what i said here few days ego.Mikel is slow, the man  is too old. anyway I’m waiting for the lineup tomorrow..

  • Ayomobee 5 months ago

    With VAR if we win Iceland then Argentina game is a possible mission either for draw or win. This is the reason why questionable calls were very minute today against Croatia .but my problem is that we lost good opportunity of getting better well fit players with that kind of nos of friendly games we played and that I feel this might still count against us wen it matters most.

  • Gideon S 5 months ago

    Watching Croatia and Argentina game, I think Nigeria team is not that bad. Eagles just need to work on defending set-p and that is all.
    good luck guys!

  • Very very hard day for Messi fans, He didn’t play a role like Cristiano Ronaldo against Spain just few days before. Now, Argentina reach to the next round seems very difficult.

  • PapaFem 5 months ago

    People should stop justifying Nigeria’s horrible loss because an hapless Argentine team lost against the Croats. This was a game we could have easily won. We matched these guys in every aspect of the game except defending set plays and creating chances. There was never a time in the match we were so hapless and disjointed like the Argentines. If we had taken the game to them, created chances and attacked with purpose, the match against Croatia could have been one of our easiest in that group. The next encounter will be won from the bench. Let Mr. Rohr give us an attack-minded set up built on solid defending. Leaving Ighalo upfront to fight alone with those lanky Icelandic defenders won’t work. We should attack them from every angle and fight off counter attacks especially from the wings. There is no way we will go barren again in this one. As for the final match against Messi and his men, there’s every reason to be hopeful. Croatia and Iceland have taught us how to do it. Don’t allow them time and space on the ball. They are very individualistic and hardly string any troubling passes. If we adopt a pressing system where we mark in group and hit back with speed and purpose , we’ll beat them. I have every reason to be hopeful. Let’s see what we make of the next match. Wishing the SE the very best.

    • PEACE 5 months ago

      @Papafem, you have said it all, this is exactly how Super Eagles should pray against Iceland and Argentina, with this we/Super Eagles will and proceed to win all their matches in the world cup.

      Gernot Rorh, should start
      Iheanacho
      Moses Musa
      Iwobi
      Mikel Ndidi
      Idowu Balogun Ekong Ebuehi
      Uzoho
      as the first 11 eleven.
      Super Eagles will score goals in multiples as they did worn against Argentina 4-2

  • Mcsharpc 5 months ago

    Well, now that the psychic pig drama is out of the way, I hope we can wake up to some reality. The fact is Nigeria and Argentina cannot both make it to the knock stage at the same time, not to talk of making it to the semi finals as the pig had predicted. One of them, if not both, will surely go home after the group stage. I pray Nigeria makes it to the knock out stage though; fingers crossed.

  • PantherKing 5 months ago

    I think this is the reason Rhor correctly refused to play the 3 5 2 system many thought would have worked. perhaps the 3 man defence would have exposed us more.

    Messi is so often the scapegoat when Argentina lose, yet Sampaoli will not escape the fallout this time. His decision to keep faith with Caballero – something that one reporter told him 40 million Argentinians could not understand – badly backfired and it was also a huge gamble to dispense with a four-man defence and set up with a back three instead. A huge gamble that spectacularly failed.

    Maybe just maybe, something can still happen for the super eagles.

  • PEACE 5 months ago

    @Papafem, you have said it all, this is exactly how Super Eagles should play against Iceland and Argentina, with this we/Super Eagles will win and proceed to win all their matches in the world cup.
    Gernot Rorh, should start
    Iheanacho
    Moses Musa
    Iwobi
    Mikel Ndidi
    Idowu Balogun Ekong Ebuehi
    Uzoho
    as the first 11 eleven.
    Super Eagles will score goals in multiples as they did worn against Argentina 4-2

  • football is a game of black and white. Today is ur turn tomorow someone else turn. If croatia can beat Almighty argentina 3-0 with the number of players in argentina squad. No body can predict the game anylonger. I wish super eagles victory against iceland.