WORLD CUP 2018

Argentina v Croatia

Dejan Lovren
Dejan LovrenPHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, EPA-EFE
Lionel Messi
Lionel MessiPHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, EPA-EFE

Key battle

Lionel Messi v Dejan Lovren

Centre-back Lovren has pointed to Iceland's performance against Messi as evidence that it is possible to defend against the star forward, who has scored in each of his two previous appearances against Croatia.

TEAM NEWS

Jorge Sampaoli has not used the same starting line-up in 12 games in charge and is expected to dump the 4-2-3-1 used against Iceland while reverting to the 3-4-3 he abandoned late last year.

TEAM NEWS

Croatia are down to 22 men after striker Nikola Kalinic was sent home for refusing to come on as a substitute against Nigeria.

PLAYED

4

ARGENTINA

WINS 2 

DRAWS 1

CROATIA

WINS 1

LAST MEETING

November 2014 friendly: Argentina 2-1

Pundits' pick

Sky Sports' Paul Merson: Argentina to win

The pressure is on Argentina - this is a tough game. Croatia are so strong in midfield. However, going forward Argentina have so much quality - I'll side with them.

BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson: Argentina to win

(Iceland) was a little bit of a wake-up call for (Argentina) and Croatia's strength is also going forward, and they have quality in midfield too.That's why I am expecting a more open game - and I am also expecting Argentina to win.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Argentina v Croatia '. Print Edition | Subscribe