Big Match Breakdown: Group D: Argentina v Croatia
Nick Murphy | 21 June 2018
Odds and preview ahead of World Cup tie
There’s a crucial match-up in Group D tonight as Argentina take on Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod.
Both sides will be eyeing up a last-16 berth in Russia, although it’s Luka Modric and co. who are better placed in the group after the first match.
The Croatians kicked things off with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday, while Argentina spluttered to a disappointing 1-1 draw with debutants Iceland.
It’s all set up for an intriguing encounter this evening. And it’s one the Coral News Team have previewed with a Big Match Breakdown…
Despite both nations being regulars at the World Cup, Croatia and Argentina have only ever met once at the finals.
That encounter came way back in 1998, when Mauricio Pineda’s goal was enough for La Albiceleste to claim a 1-0 victory in Group H in France.
Tonight’s fixture will be the fifth time the two countries have met in all competitions, with Jorge Sampaoli’s side currently leading 2-1 in the head-to-head battle.
The pair also shared a 0-0 draw on their first encounter in June 1994.
Sampaoli is set to ring the changes following Saturday’s draw with Iceland. Marcos Rojo will make way for Gabriel Mercado, with Eduardo Salvio coming in from wing-back to form part of a back-three. Angel Di Maria, Maximiliano Meza and Lucas Biglia could also miss out, with Marcos Acuna, Enzo Perez and Cristian Pavon reportedly set to come in.
Croatia could swap out Andrej Kramaric for Marcelo Brozovic in the only likely change for manager Zlatko Dalic.
This match looks set to hinge on two key areas. Can Croatia’s midfield dominate the midfield areas, and will Vatreni be able to cope with the threat posed by Lionel Messi? Iceland showed on Saturday that if you double up on the Barcelona ace and restrict him to shots from distance, Argentina are pretty ineffective elsewhere.
And with a midfield that includes Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic amongst others, if Croatia can do that effectively, then they’ll have a real chance of bossing the game and grabbing a goal up the other end.
Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero is 6/4 to net his second goal in as many matches. Manchester City ace Nicolas Otamendi is a threat from corners and can be backed at 9/1 Anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing