FULL-TIME, Argentina 0-3 Croatia: This was ugly and bad for Messi, but wonderful for Rakitic. Argentina are probably going home, and Croatia will be a really tough opponent in the Round of 16.
GOAL! Argentina 0-3 CROATIA (Rakitic 90’+1): A BARCELONA GOAL IN THE WORLD CUP! Rakitic adds insult to injury for Argentina with the type of goal you see in a kid’s league. This is ugly.
GOAL! Argentina 0-2 CROATIA (Modric 80’): Luka Modric scores a screamer from distance. This one is over, folks.
GOAL! Argentina 0-1 CROATIA (Rebic 53’): Croatia take the lead! Willy Caballero makes one of the worst goalkeeping mistakes in World Cup history, and Ante Rebic scores a beautiful volley.
HALF-TIME, Argentina 0-0 Croatia: This has been at the same time one of the most exciting and the most ugly match of the World Cup. A lot of bad fouls, and two incredible missed chances, one by Mario Madzukic and one by Enzo Pérez. Rakitic is dictating the tempo with Luka Modric when Croatia have the ball, while Messi is trying as hard as he can to find some space to operate. It’s been hard.
KICKOFF! Argentina 0-0 Croatia: COME ON, LEO! COME ON, IVAN! COME ON BOTH TEAMS!
Starting XI: Caballero; Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Salvio, Pérez, Mascherano, Acuña; Messi, Agüero, Meza
Bench: Guzmán (GK), Armani (GK), Ansaldi, Fazio, Rojo, Biglia, Banega, Lo Celso, Dybala, Di María, Pavón, Higuaín
Starting XI: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rakitic, Brozovic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic
Bench: Livakovic (GK), Kalinic (GK), Corluka, Kovacic, Kramaric, Jedvaj, Bradaric, Caleta-Car, Badelj, Pjaca, Pivaric
IT’S MESSI DAY! MESSI DAY! MESSI DAY! MESSI DAY! MESSI DAY! This is a WWE reference, and if you don’t get it, you are a sad person.
Anyway, Day 8 of the World Cup ends with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi trying to win his first game of the tournament as Argentina face Croatia, but if they had a tough time with Iceland, this could be even tougher. Croatia have a fantastic squad, and their midfield is seriously good, maybe as good as any midfield in the World Cup.
One of those Croatian midfielders is Ivan Rakitic, who knows Messi very well and will play in the same area of the pitch as the Argentina captain. That will be a truly fascinating duel to watch between two good friends and competitors, and after beating Nigeria in their first game Croatia are in a great position to qualify. A win against Argentina will all but clinch that qualification, while putting Messi and Co. in real danger of going out in the group stage.
This is perhaps the most decisive game of the World Cup so far, and it involves the best player of all time. It’ll be fun, and nervous, and crazy, and you should join us for a great live blog as soon as the team news are out!
Date/Time: Thursday, June 21, 2018, 8pm CET (Barcelona), 7pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 2pm EST, 11am PST (USA), 11.30pm IST (India)
Venue: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM WORLD CUP
How to watch on TV: FOX (USA), BBC One (UK), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), Sony ESPN (India), TSN (Canada), others
How to stream: BBC iPlayer (UK), FuboTV (Free trial, click here to sign up)
Matchday Thread Rules
We don’t have a lot of rules here, but there are a few things to keep in mind when joining our matchday threads:
Even if the referee sucks or we lose the game, no swearing. It’s just unnecessary. Also, don’t discuss illegal streaming links. Those who do will be warned, and those who post links will be banned. Finally, be nice to each other. This is a Barcelona community and we don’t need to offend one another, especially when it’s the World Cup.
Have fun with the game! Forever and ever, no matter the competition, VISCA EL BARÇA!