Argentina 0 – 3 Croatia: World Cup 2018 Match Review

Highlights

The first clear-cut chance in the game came in the 5th minute, when Ivan Perisic was through on the left hand side of the goal, and Argentina keeper Willy Cabellero narrowly managed to make the save.
A great chance for Argentina came in the 29th minute when a blocked low cross fell to Perez in the box but he put it narrowly wide. Croatia struck right back when Mandzukic narrowly missed and open header from just a few yards out just a few minutes later
Rebic who arguably should have been sent off earlier in the game, scored for Croatia in the 53rd minute after a fatal error from Caballero where he passed the ball straight to the Croatian attacker.
A very good chance fell to Meza in the 63rd minute but the keeper did very well to save it and put it out for a corner.
Croatia seemingly sealed their faith with an amazing goal from Luka Modric from outside the box in the 80th minute. Then Rakitic added insult to injury with a 3rd in stoppage time.

Effect of this result

This result means that Argentina will have to really fight to qualify from this group with them needing Iceland to slip up and to get a result against Nigeria to have a chance at qualification.
This result also means that Croatia have officially qualified into the round of 16 and will hope to beat Iceland next week to secure top spot.
This also means Iceland have a very good chance of qualification if they manage to beat Nigeria. This would be a major upset seeing last years finalists knocked out in the group.

Controversy

Controversy struck when Croatia’s Rebic went in for a bad challenge on Salvio which was a potential leg breaker. He was only given a yellow card in the end despite Jorge Sampaoli appealing for a VAR review.

Tactics

Argentina played a slow methodical style at the start of the game, which clashed with Croatia’s pressing style of football which led to the first half being very scrappy, with both teams fighting for the ball.
Croatia played very well pressing the Argentinian defense trying to force mistakes, eventually succeeding forcing a mistake from Willy Cabellero leading to Rebic’s goal. They then played on the counter sitting deep until they saw an opportunity to attack, often true the flanks exploiting Argentina’s attacking full-backs.
After they conceded Argentina started playing a very high pressing energetic style of football which arguably was a mistake as it led to Croatia scoring 2 more.
Argentina were most vulnerable down the wings with their full-backs pushing high up the pitch which gifted the Croatians opportunities to counter attack, which they capitalized on.

Man of the Match

Luka Modric was my personal Man of the Match scoring an absolute worldy from the edge of the box and acting as the real heartbeat of the Croatian side dictating the tempo of the match and controlling the game well. He has been in great form throughout this World Cup scoring in both games, and will hope to continue this form and lead Croatia to a good World Cup run.

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