Argentina vs Croatia
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 21 June 2018
Kick-off: 20:00 CET
Argentina’s… adventurous qualification for the World Cup finals and their massive ups and downs in their friendly games these last months had made many lower their expectations from Lionel Messi’s team, but the way they played against Iceland the other day, they managed to… disappoint even those who were holding a very-very small basket. They were close to… pathetic, individually and collectively, starting with their coach, Jorge Sampaoli. It’s… really, hard to believe for example that they won several corner kicks, and they took ALL of them exactly the same – doomed – way, making the Icelanders’ life so easy. It’s hard to believe that a coach and his assistants that had months at their disposal to prepare the team for this game, hadn’t come up with a couple of ideas to make use of their corners, knowing that the Icelanders are tall and strong. This little detail gives you an idea how poorly prepared Argentina looked. Plus, it was… ridiculous seeing the players pass the ball to Messi all the time, and then just… sit back and look at him, as if he would dribble five opponents and score on his own. All that written, Argentina most probably would have won if Messi hadn’t missed a penalty… One thing is for sure, they need to look VERY improved in this match, against a team that is better than Iceland.
It was an own goal and a penalty that “produced” Croatia’s two goals against Nigeria the other day, in their 2-0 victory over the Africans, but no one can claim that the Croatians didn’t deserve to pick up all three points. They were better on the pitch in most of the game, with a good idea of what they wanted to do. Things at their camp should be fantastic after that 2-0, but in the dying minutes of the match something happened that spoiled, somewhat, the atmosphere. Nikola Kalinic was asked to go in, but he refused, saying that he had a problem with his back. He didn’t, obviously, it was just that he didn’t want to play “only” five minutes, and the coach, Zlatko Dalic, after talking with people from the Croatian FA, felt he had no choice but to send Kalinic back home. He’s no longer with the squad in Russia.
Previous five matches:
Argentina vs Iceland 1-1
Argentina vs Haiti 4-0
Spain vs Argentina 6-1
Argentina vs Italy 2-0
Argentina vs Nigeria 2-4
Croatia vs Nigeria 2-0
Croatia vs Senegal 2-1
Brazil vs Croatia 2-0
Mexico vs Croatia 0-1
Peru vs Croatia 2-0
Argentina’s last group match is on Tuesday, against Nigeria. Same day, Croatia will be facing Iceland.
Argentina vs Croatia: Head to head Stats
Argentina and Croatia have met four times in the past. Three were friendly games, and one was in the 1998 World Cup finals, in France. Two wins for Argentina, one for Croatia, and a draw, with the South Americans having scored a total of five goals, and the Croatians four.
Argentina vs Croatia: Prediction
Argentina are considered favorites to win, but not big ones. Despite their pathetic performance against Iceland, and Croatia’s good one against Nigeria, I’m backing Messi’s team to score… half a goal more than the Croatians, and win the game.
Argentina vs Croatia: Betting Tips
Argentina’s win pays 2.05, pushing their double chance down to 1.25. “Over 2.5 goals” is at 2.20, and last but not least, “Argentina and over 2.5 goals” pays am awesome 3.50.