September 27, 2021
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first_imgLionel Messi once again failed to inspire his team as Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic netted once each to take Croatia through to the round of 16 from their group.Argentina on the other hand, are on the verge of elimination as they have only one point from two games so far and will next face Nigeria on Tuesday in a must-win clash in St. Petersburg.Messi, who hasn’t scored a single goal in the tournament so far and missed a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Iceland in their opening game, was kept under check by the Croatian defense throughout the duration of the match in Nizhny Novgorod.World Cup 2018: Croatia humiliate Argentina 3-0 to reach round of 16Croatia captain Modric later revealed how plotted Messi’s downfall and they kept the best player in the world quiet.”We cut off Messi, stopped him receiving the ball, he’s their most dangerous player,” Modric said after the match.World Cup 2018, Day 8 HighlightsIt all started in the 53rd minute when Rebic capitalised on a huge mistake from the opposition goalkeeper Caballero to put his team ahead. Rebic’s strike was also Croatia’s first shot at goal in the second half.Argentina tried very hard to fight back from the early goal in the second half but couldn’t convert any of their chances into goals.World Cup 2018: Argentina stare at elimination; France, Croatia in last 16Croatia took full advantage of the fledgling Argentine defense with Modric doubling the lead in the 80th minute with a stunning goal which beating Caballero all ends up.advertisementMessi’s Barcelona teammate Rakitic then finished the job and put the game beyond Argentina’s reach in injury time to take Croatia through to the knockouts. Messi hasn’t scored a single goal in World Cup 2018 so far (Reuters Photo)”The most important objective has been realised. We’ve got to take it game by game, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This win will boost our confidence for the coming games.”It’s going to be tough but let’s avoid euphoria, give it a wide berth and keep our feet firmly on the ground to prepare for the next matches,” Modric added.This was Argentina’s heaviest defeat in the first round group stages of a World Cup tournament since losing 1-6 to Czechoslovakia in 1958.It was also the first time that Croatia progressed past the World Cup group stages since their third-placed debut in 1998.”In the end our victory looks easy but it wasn’t that easy. I think the win was fully deserved, but it wasn’t easy. That first goal, in the second half, followed a mistake. It was a shot in the arm for us – we played a perfect game and you need a perfect game to beat such a great team,” Modric concluded.Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic meanwhile said that his players never stopped believing in themselves.”From day one I’ve trusted my team. I didnt believe we would be through after the second game, but I believed we would be through eventually. Argentina werent confused, we were excellent.”We’ve emerged from the group after two games. Weve beaten Argentina with the best player in the world – Messi – and we played a fantastic match, everything was top notch. However, we have to be calm, humble, dignified, put in a good shift in a disciplined and responsible manner and as a team.”I want my 22nd player in the squad to be as good as my first. Hunger and desire for victory: this is the only way we can achieve something. No one is happier than I am but I have to be calm, composed and keep my feet on the ground,” Dalic said.last_img