Argentina v Croatia Betting Tips & Preview – Thursday 21st June 2018

Argentinian Flag Croatian Flag

Croatia have the chance to book their place in the World Cup knockout stages when they face Argentina this Thursday, something they haven't done since 1998. Argentina still have plenty of work to do if they are to progress out of Group D. After a poor start in their opening test against Iceland, Sampaoli’s men need to show a lot more here in what could be a stiffer test.

Top Tips

Draw @ 12/5

Under 2.5 goals @ 13/20

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Argentina Form

Preparations for this World Cup didn't go smoothly for Argentina. In March they succumbed to a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Spain, a game which would have done nothing for their confidence. La Albiceleste were unable to fully put that behind them as scheduled friendlies against Nicaragua and Israel were both cancelled. This meant that Haiti were the only nation to offer Argentina a warm-up test in the weeks building up to the World Cup. As expected the former world champions won with ease but there's very little to take from a match against such a limited side.

Many believe Argentina's chances in this World Cup rest on the shoulders of Lionel Messi. The Barcelona star had the chance to be his side's saviour against Iceland but saw his penalty saved with the scoreline at 1-1. It was otherwise a forgettable showing from the 30-year-old along with many of his teammates. His strike partner, Sergio Aguero, opened the scoring with a fine strike but didn't get a sniff at goal afterwards as Iceland successfully shut the door on the South Americans. A frustrating start for Sampaoli and his squad of abundant attacking talent.

MatchDateScoreResult
Argentina v Iceland 16th June 2018 1-1 Draw
Argentina v Haiti 30th May 2018 4-0 Win
Spain v Argentina 27th March 2018 6-1 Loss

Croatia Form

Croatia's World Cup preparation offered promise but did show their trouble going forward. In the 2-0 defeat to Brazil, Croatia for much of the contest more than matched the South Americans thanks to their aggression and intensity. Edging the midfield battle helped little though with no outlet to finish things off upfront. Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric led the line that day but he’s only averaged one goal every four games for his country. In the two games prior, the Vatreni failed to find the net against Peru and needed a penalty to score in the narrow in against Mexico.

It was Croatia's midfield which unsurprisingly made the difference in their World Cup opener against Nigeria last week. The duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic combined wonderfully to control proceedings against an inexperienced Nigeria squad featuring 18 World Cup debutants. Despite winning by a two goal margin, Zlatko Dalic’s men did often lack that cutting edge in the final third. Their opener came courtesy of a significant deflection while the second goal came after they were gifted a needless penalty. Mario Mandzukic was given the nod up front but the out of form 32-year-old did not offer the sort of movement that was going to cause issues among the Nigerian ranks.

MatchDateScoreResult
Croatia v Nigeria 16th June 2018 2-0 Win
Croatia v Senegal 8th June 2018 2-1 Win
Brazil v Croatia 3rd June 2018 2-0 Loss

Head to Head Stats

Argentina were triumphant the last time these two countries met after Messi’s penalty completed a second half comeback. They've only met once previously in a competitive environment and in France it was again Argentina who just came out on top.

DateHomeScoreAwayResultCompetition
12th Nov 2014 Argentina 2 - 1 Croatia Argentina Friendly
1st Mar 2006 Croatia 3 - 2 Argentina Croatia Friendly
26th Jun 1998 Argentina 1 - 0 Croatia Argentina World Cup

Injuries & Suspensions

Argentina were unable to include Manuel Lanzini into their 23 man squad due to injury but there are no absences among the players Sampaoli settled on.

Argentina

  • No injuries

Croatia

  • Nikola Kalinic - Sent home after refusing to come on as a substitute against Nigeria.

Betting Tips

Jorge Sampaoli has promised big changes for this match but don’t expect this to bring about a radically improved performance from La Albiceleste.

Draw

A draw here would be a great result for group leaders Croatia. They were not outstanding against Nigeria but did enough to get the job done. Things will be tougher against Argentina but their opponents have struggled to impress under Sampaoli. The problems of the South American outfit were on show against Iceland and making changes to the starting XI is unlikely to fix them all. With this Argentina side rarely able to play to their full potential, they may have to settle for a draw against a combative Balkans team.

Under 2.5 goals

Croatia will know all about Argentina’s attack and how they can be subdued with the right defensive approach. An open game will not suit Croatia as Argentina have far more pace on the break and the ability to make it count. With Croatia likely to sit back in an attempt to frustrate their South American opponents, a low scoring affair looks to be on the cards. Five of the Vatreni’s last six games have seen under 2.5 goals and another instance would be absolutely no surprise.

Draw 1-1

Argentina knocked four past Haiti in their last game prior to the World Cup but goals against better opposition have been far harder to come by. Croatia also have their shortcomings in attack, making a low scoring 1-1 draw offer appeal at 11/2.

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