Argentina vs. Croatia: 2018 World Cup – Match Preview

Argentina need a result when they host current group leaders Croatia on Thursday evening.

Lionel Messi endured a nightmare in his nations opener, missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Iceland.

Sergio Aguero opened the scoring, however the smallest nation at the tournament earned a point through a Alfred Finnbogasson equaliser.

Croatia started with a comfortable victory over Nigeria, with Luka Modric’s penalty sealing a 2-0 victory.

Nigeria offered little, however were unlucky to go in at the break a goal down, following an unfortunate Oghenekaro Etebo own goal.

The two nations have met four times previously, although just once at a World Cup. Croatia lost the group stage fixture 1-0, however went onto finish third at the 1998 World Cup.

Elsewhere in the group, Nigeria and Iceland go head to head and realistically the loser will be eliminated.

Croatia DNB – 9/5 with Betfair

Team news
Argentina are set to make changes to the XI that were held by Iceland, with Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo both set to drop out.

Reports claim they will revert to a back three with Nicolas Tagliafico featuring in an unfamiliar role.

Nikola Kalanic has been sent home after the AC Milan forward reportedly refused to come on in the victory over Nigeria.

Milan Badlej is set to come into the XI for Anderj Kramaric, meaning Croatia will revert to a more defensive 4-3-3.

Expected starting XI’s
Argentina (3-4-3): Caballero; Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Salvio, Mascherano, Perez, Acuna; Messi, Aguero, Pavon
Croatia (4-3-3): Subasic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Strinic; Badlej, Rakitic, Modric; Perisic, Mandzukic, Rebic

Predictions

Result: Draw (12/5 with Betfair)

Correct Score: 1-1 (6/1 with Bet Victor)

Anytime Goalscorer: Lionel Messi (11/8 with 888 Sport)

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