In their opener against Iceland it appeared as if Argentina had victory in hand. Lionel Messi was set to put them ahead with a penalty kick. At the 63 minute mark it would almost certainly mean victory. And a Betting the World Cup money line payout. But Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson made the guess of a lifetime. And he saved the shot and game as a result. It was a devastating draw for Argentina. And felt like a loss. Now they must quickly recover. And fully focus on a capable Croatia team.
2018 FIFA World Cup Argentina vs. Croatia
Date and Time: Thursday, June 21, 2018 2 p.m. ET
Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
World Cup Betting Online Odds at SBG:
|Croatia||+½ (-118)||2 (-141)|
|Argentina||-½ (+103)||2 (+121)|
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: FOX
Croatia So Far
With the help of an own goal Croatia defeated Nigeria 2-0. Luka Modric scored for Croatia. It was a penalty kick in the 71st minute of play. Croatia carried the play for long periods of time. But they struggled to penetrate the Nigeria defense. And when they did their shots were often erratic. Their first goal came off the foot of Oghenekaro Etebo. The diving header by Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic caromed off Etebo into the goal. But at the end Modric demonstrated his Betting the World Cup value.
Lionel Messi’s Team Downer
For Lionel Messi it was a very frustrating opener. Iceland smothered him without mercy. Messi struggled to find space throughout the game. Halldorsson was the star of the game. He made six saves for Iceland. Sergio Aguero was the only Argentine to solve the Iceland goal keeper. He scored at the 19 minute mark. But just four minutes later Alfred Finnbogason tied the game. Messi fired narrowly over the net at game’s end. It was emblematic of the day.
Bumpy Road for Argentina
To some Argentina is developing into an overlay. Their qualification was bumpy. Home losses to Ecuador and Paraguay stung. As did a draw with Venezuela. Three managers were put through the ringer. Messi was often absent. And it showed how dependent the team is on him. And it took a Messi hat trick in the final qualifier to punch Argentina’s ticket.
What seems to be the problem?
La Albiceleste is loaded with offensive talent. Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are top stars. Forwards who excel in Europe. Perpetually problematic is learning how to play off Messi. The team has never really jelled. Current coach Jorge Sampaoli has experimented frequently. Both with lineups and tactics. There have been disruptive injuries too. Staying organized has been next to impossible. And the erratic team culture was fully displayed against Iceland.
Croatia boasts some of the best midfield options on Planet Earth. And none is greater than Luka Modric. He is a true visionary and technical master. The team captain has most matches go through him. Few teams boast such a sportsbook online asset. Modric is an impact player and stellar leader.
Matchup to Watch
Croatia rates a Betting the World Cup shot here. Argentina simply has not proven trustworthy. Croatia has ability and had the more impressive opener.
Betting the World Cup: World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Croatia is a quality underdog with a real shot here.
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Croatia
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Croatia 2, Argentina 1