Best Odds: 12/5
On Thursday night, Argentina and Croatia clash in a potentially crucial clash in Group D of the World Cup. A win for either side could be pivotal in deciding who makes the knockout stages of the group.
Both sides head into this clash unbeaten in five World Cup games, including qualifiers, so this could be a tight encounter.
Argentina headed into World Cup 2018 with a number of concerns surrounding their team. Many of those concerns were confirmed in their opening match, as La Albiceleste drew 1-1 with Iceland after Lionel Messi saw a penalty saved.
The South American giants struggled to create much, while their dependency on star player Messi was obvious. Their defence also looked highly suspect on the rare occasions that Iceland attacked. Croatia could cause Argentina major problems.
Boss Jorge Sampaoli is unlikely to be happy with his team’s display in the opening game. The likes of Cristian Pavon, Gabriel Mercado and Enzo Perez could all start as the Argentinian boss looks to ring the changes.
Croatia made a solid start to their World Cup campaign by recorded a routine 2-0 win over Nigeria. In terms of qualifying for the knockout stages, it could be a big victory, as the Super Eagles were considered contenders to qualify for the last 16.
Zlatko Dalic’s side is full of experience and knows that a point against the Argentinians would not just put them in pole position to qualify from the group, but to top the group, as they face fellow contenders Iceland in the final group game.
The Croats have not made the knockout stages of the World Cup since their first-ever appearance at the finals back in 1998. They are now in a position to put that right at Russia 2018.
Croatia are unlikely to tinker with their starting line-up too much for this clash after their opening game win. However, boss Dalic may decide to play slightly more defensive and bring in Marcelo Brozovic for striker Andrej Kramaric.
Croatia are the sort of well-drilled team that can take advantage of Argentina’s weaknesses. Iceland managed a draw against Sampaoli without the sort of talented players available to Dalic.
A Croatia cannot be ruled out. However, Argentina will always have a chance with the Lionel Messi in their ranks. This game could end in a tight low scoring draw.
Best odds: 12/5