Possibly the most important and biggest match from Group D of FIFA World Cup takes place tonight in Novgorod between South American powerhouse Argentina and European representatives Croatia.
Taking a look at the previous results of both sides, it’s clear that Argentina will be more hungrier and eager for a victory after Iceland held them to a 1-1 draw, as it will brighten their chances to make it past the group stage. Messi and co. must grind out a victory or it might be curtains for them in this edition of the World Cup, which from an Argentine and a neutral’s perspective would be catastrophic for the Albiceleste.
Previously, Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli couldn’t break the Icelandic defence on Saturday which denied South Americans the clear cut scoring chances, but he’d be keen to find a way past the Croatian defence which kept a clean sheet against Nigeria. Today all eyes will be on Lionel Messi who on having missed the penalty against Iceland would be under immense pressure to perform to his standards. Would he amend himself? We all know that great players always find a way out and so might Leo Messi; and it should be a matter of time for him to find his way, probably.
Croatia, however, after their 2-0 victory over Nigerian super eagles have a different case altogether. A win and they are through to the knockouts. Lose or draw, and they still might make it to the round of 16. They have one advantage over Argentina, that is the “lack of urgency“. By getting the better of super eagles in their previous fixture, they will be heading into the game with all the calmness in the world, but one must not forget that there is no easy way in football, you have to give your 100% to make the most out of opportunity in your hands. This is the world cup and if you take it easy, you pay for it. Croatia today should be looking to get the job done by winning their second game of the group before their final match against Iceland.
It will be a lively fixture as the Argentinians with all their tools and tactics would come hard at the Croatians to get those crucial three points. The duo of Rakitic and Modric vs the genius of Lionel Messi, and we’re in for the most awaited match of group D.
Current Group Standings:
ARGENTINA: Caballero, Otamendi, Mercado, Salvio, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Acuna, Enzo Perez, Aguero, Messi, Pavon.
CROATIA: Subasic, Strinic, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Rakitic, Modric, Rebic, Mandzukic, Perisic, Badelj.