The World Cup is as good as over for Lionel Messi and Argentina thanks to an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Croatia, who played another fantastic match in this World Cup and saw Ivan Rakitic put on a show and score for them. So if you’re a Barcelona fan, you’re... kinda happy for Ivan?
We saw a very hard-fought first 45 minutes, with both teams looking to cancel each other out with tactical fouls and actual tough challenges that warranted bookings. Argentina had most of the possession but used by passing the ball around the back, and the Albiceleste could not find a way to make a clean buildup. Croatia were always quick and dangerous with the ball, and both Perisic and Mandzukic had very good chances to score, but couldn’t.
The best chance of the half belonged to Argentina when goalkeeper Subasic left his goal and made a poor mistake in the box, but Enzo Pérez somehow missed the target completely and we went into halftime with a goalless draw, a terrible result for Lionel Messi and Co.
Argentina made a good start to the final period, having a cleaner work of possession with Messi in a more central role, and Sergio Agüero had a good chance to score. Then Willy Caballero made a horrible mistake, Ante Rebic gave Croatia the lead, and the Albiceleste had to climb Mount Everest.
Unfortunately, Argentina are poorly coached, poorly managed and facing immense pressure, so even though Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín came on to try and find an equalizer, the team just could not put togther one dangerous attacking move and kept sending long balls into the box without any success.
Croatia were always the better team and killed the game for good with an incredible strike from distance by Real Madrid star Luka Modric, and then the Albiceleste got frustrated and starting kicking people until the final whistle.
This Argentina team is the worst we’ve seen in decades, and Lionel Messi can only do so much. Although he definitely did not do enough today. His international career is most likely done for good, and what a terrible ending this is.
Argentina: Caballero; Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Salvio (Pavón), Pérez (Dybala), Mascherano, Acuña; Messi, Agüero (Higuaín), Meza
Croatia: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Brozovic; Rebic (Kramaric), Modric, Rakitic, Perisic (Kovacic); Mandzukic
Goals: Rebic (53’), Modric (80’), Rakitic (90’+1)