Croatia became the fourth team to make it to the World Cup round of 16 and has left Argentina on the shocking brink of elimination after destroying the South Americans 3-0 on Thursday. A helpless Argentina did nothing in attack all game long, and Croatia scored on a shocking goalkeeper error before Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric put it away late.
Early in the second half, Argentina goalkeeper Willy Caballero gave the ball right to Ante Rebic, who made no mistake:
Rakitic finished on the counter to make it 3-0 to move to six points in the table. And now Argentina needs a draw or Nigeria win on Friday to feel like it has any chance of moving on.
As for Messi, he wasn’t relied on as much as in the first match, but he just couldn’t get going. Jorge Sampaoli made changes much too late, and they couldn’t recover.
But Croatia deserves praise. They weren’t great in the opener against Nigeria but defended well in this one and took advantage of Argentina’s mistakes, rightfully clinching a spot in the next round.
Croatia will face Iceland in their final group stage match with nothing on the line. Argentina squares off with Nigeria, but their fate could be out of their hands depending on how Iceland fares tomorrow or in their final match.