Argentina will be looking for a much-needed win when they take on Croatia after slipping up against Iceland in the opener. The South American side had much more of the game but looked shaky at the back and missed the opportunity to win after Lionel Messi missed a penalty. That has left qualification from the group in the balance as they gear up to face the Croatians.
The European side have more room for error after a comfortable win over Nigeria in their opener in what was a largely forgettable game. Luka Modric sealed the win from the spot in what was an assured midfield performance from the Real Madrid man. He will hope to lead his side to another win that would seal a place in the last 16.
Here we will give you Argentina vs Croatia betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Argentina vs Croatia prediction for the Group D encounter.
Our Argentina vs Croatia Prediction: Argentina 1-1 Croatia
Our Argentina vs Croatia prediction tips is for a very even game that ends in a draw – a result that will leave La Albiceleste in serious danger of not qualifying.
Argentina looked very unconvincing on Saturday, with their defence presenting Iceland with many good opportunities and even though they had plenty of shots and the majority of possession, they didn’t miss too many clear cut chances themselves. Manager Jorge Sampaoli may consider going with a back three to try and shore them up defensively but once again the reliance will be on Messi in attack. Sergio Aguero scored on Saturday but it was still Messi who was the chief attacking threat and he willbe desperate to make up for that penalty miss.
Yet, they won’t have it all their own way against Croatia at all. The European side have a better midfield and defence on paper without a shadow of doubt. Modric, and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic could control the game and Ivan Perisic will give them a threat on the break. Quite simply, Croatia have too much quality not to score and will expect to get a point at least and you can see it happening.
Our recommended tip – Croatia Draw No Bet
This is an extremely talented Croatian group, who boast a superb midfield and have enough variety in attack to cause problems for anyone.
On the other hand, Argentina are as close as a one-man team as you can get. They are totally reliant on Messi but the brilliant Barcelona man doesn’t get the ball as quickly, as often or as accurately as he does for his club. He could inspire his country to a victory but overall Croatia have the better team and will get chances against this defence, so a draw no bet punt looks good value.
The clash in Nizhny Novgorod will be the fifth between the sides and the second at a World Cup, with Argentina winning the previous meeting back at France ’98.
They head into the game in differing form, as mentioned, with Argentina drawing 1-1 with Iceland in an uninspiring performance. The fact Sampaoli is considering changing formation shows how disjointed the team were and on this occasion Messi couldn’t paper over the cracks. There were a few positives though, with Aguero scoring a stunner and Cristian Pavon a very impressive sub. However, their defensive issues were on display yet again.
Whereas, Croatia secured a comfortable win against Nigeria but they were by no means at their best. The African side were awful but Croatia deserve credit for doing what was needed and they can play against Argentina with a lot less pressure on them which will help.
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Players to watch – Lionel Messi & Mario Mandzukic
Messi was the reason Argentina got to Russia but he had a disastrous first game. The penalty miss came during a poor performance by his standards where he simply couldn’t find his shooting boots. Nevertheless, everyone connected to Argentina knows he is their only hope and he will be determined to improve to help the side get a much-needed win. He may get more space against a Croatia team that don’t have midfielders who will be entirely focused on stopping him and that could help.
Croatia are a talented team but the key man could be Juventus striker Mandzukic. The midfield of Rakitic and Modric will create chances for him and Perisic will stretch the play. And, the big striker could be the man to score the decisive goals. He has the strength to bully the weak Argentine defence and his aerial prowess could be too much for the South Americans.