Moscow (June 22, 2018): Croatia have beaten Argentina 3-0 and entered the knockout phase of the tournament.
Croatia inflicted a brutal 3-0 World Cup defeat on Argentina which will damage the two-time champions’ psyche, and may prove fatal to their participation at this tournament.The result means that an Iceland win over Nigeria on Friday and a convenient draw between Croatia and Iceland in their final game would see Argentina eliminated.
Lionel Messi had no answer after a goalkeeping howler from Chelsea’s Willy Caballero gave Croatia a 53rd-minute lead in Nizhny Novgorod before Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic compounded Argentina’s misery.In an error-strewn game it was Caballero’s mistake which broke the deadlock. The goalkeeper attempted a lob over the head of Ante Rebic, enormously undercooked it and Rebic volleyed the ball home beautifully.
Modric made it 2-0 in the 81st-minute, jinking round his marker and unleashing a gorgeous curling shot.Rakitic hit the bar from a free kick five minutes later before rolling into an unguarded net in second half stoppage time to complete the rout.
This was Croatia’s first victory in five attempts against South American nations at the World Cup, having lost each of their previous four.This is only the second time Croatia have won both of their opening two games at a World Cup, after the 1998 tournament that saw them reach the semi-finals. Ante Rebic had only ever scored once for Croatia, in a friendly against Liechtenstein back in August 2013.