Argentina v Croatia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
June 17, 2018
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium - World Cup Group D
Argentina come into their second Group D fixture against Croatia in serious need of a win. Defeat for the Albiceleste would leave them teetering on the brink of a highly embarrassing early exit from the World Cup.
These teams met at France 98, where Argentina won 1-0, and they’ve played two friendlies since then. Both side have won one apiece, with Argentina winning the most recent game 2-1 in 2014.
After Gonzalo Higuain only got five minutes against Iceland on Saturday, Jorge Sampaoli may decide to bring the Juventus striker into the starting line-up. His club-mate Paulo Dybala is another option, and he didn’t even get on the pitch during the weekend’s disappointing draw.
Croatia didn’t pick up any injuries in their first game against Nigeria, so head coach Zlatko Dalic could name an unchanged team. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will be crucial in the centre of midfield.
Argentina v Croatia Preview and Predictions
Few expected Argentina to drop points against Iceland, but the European minnows came from behind against the Albiceleste to record a memorable draw. That leaves Sampaoli’s side needing a win against Croatia, but the Blazers will be no pushover on Thursday.
With so much expectation on his shoulders, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick on his mind, Lionel Messi failed to live up to the hype against the smallest nation to ever compete at the World Cup. His penalty miss proved to be a crucial moment, but the No.10 will be desperate to make amends in this one.
Argentina are 11/10 for the win, while Croatia are available at 69/20. There are plenty of talented players throughout Dalic’s team, and they could easily cause lots of problems for an Argentina defence that has plenty of question marks over it.
Defeat is almost unthinkable for Argentina, but Mario Mandzukic will fancy his chances up against Marcos Rojo and Nicolas Otamendi, and Ivan Perisic is a threat from out wide. It’s not too hard to see Croatia claiming a draw from this game, and that’s priced at 64/25 in the betting.
Messi to score anytime at 4/3
He usually comes up with the goods when club or country need him, and Messi will be keen to banish the memory of that penalty miss.
Score draw at 4/1
Argentina weren’t very cohesive against Iceland, and a draw could be on the cards if they don’t pick their game up. Another 1-1 scoreline is 6/1.