Argentina upset the odds with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Iceland in the first game of the Group D, while Croatia easily overcame Nigeria 2-0 to grab an important win at the start of the 2018 World Cup. The defending vice-champions will meet the Blazers on this Thursday, June 21st, 2018, at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in a search for their first victory, as any other result sounds like a trouble before the ultimate clash against Nigeria.
Argentina vs. Croatia
3-Way: 1: Argentina +105; X: +240 Draw; 2: Croatia +320 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread -0.5: Argentina +105; Croatia -108
Total +2.5: Over +120; Under -156
Recent Form and Team News
Argentina was a huge favorite in the match with Iceland, failing to justified the expectations after some poor offensive performance, although they took 26 shots towards Our Boys’ goalie. Lionel Messi had a bad day in the office, managing to miss from the second-half penalty kick, while his teammates just couldn’t cope with Iceland’s aggressive display. Jorge Sampaoli started with just one pure striker at the front, and Sergio Aguero returned with the only goal for La Albiceleste, who are obviously struggling to find the right form.
On the other side, Croatia put on a good performance against Nigeria, limiting the Super Eagles’ frontline for the most of the game, while the Blazers took advantage on some Nigeria’s mistakes to earn a well-deserved victory. They’ve shown an exceptional short-passing play, completely controlling the flow of the match, while their defensive work has been surprisingly wholesome. It was the second time in the last five encounters that Croatia recorded a clean sheet.
Players to Watch
Lionel Messi will have to step up against the Blazers and finally score some goals, or his team will be in all kinds of troubles. Messi is a key playmaker in this Argentina team, and when he’s playing well, the whole team is automatically on the higher level. Sergio Aguero will try to use his pace against Croatia’s defenders, while we could see Paulo Dybala on the pitch, at last, as the talented forward is unfairly neglected by Jorge Sampaoli.
Luka Modric had a great game against Nigeria, and the 32-year old playmaker is certainly the Blazers main power due to his exceptional skills and tremendous work rate. The striker Mario Mandzukic also looks in a good form at the start of the 2018 World Cup, while Ivan Perisic should be a great danger of the wing.
Betting Trends and Latest Odds
- Argentina kept the net intact in five out of the last ten games
- Argentina managed to score in each of the previous seven tilts
- Argentina is a +1200 favorite to beat the 2018 FIFA World Cup
- Argentina is at +1600 to be the highest scoring team in Russia
- Croatia won three out of the previous six encounters along with one draw and a couple of losses
- Croatia failed to score in three out of those six tilts
- Croatia is a +2800 favorite to win the title in Russia
- Croatia is at +187 to make it to the last eight
The stake is huge for both teams, but Argentina just have to get a win here, and I think they could find the right attacking flow against the Blazers’ defense. Argentina’s pace should cause a lot of problems at Croatia’s defensive line, but their defense could also suffer from Blazers’ quick counter-attacks. Betting on the totals should be a nice choice, as we should see some goals here, despite the importance of the clash, but I will go with Lionel Messi and his teammates, reckoning on their experience in big games like this one.
The Pick: Argentina (+105)