Croatia has beaten the defending vice-champions Argentina 3-0 at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium to reach the Round of 16 with one game to spare in the Group D, while Lionel Messi and his teammates are now close to elimination with just one point out of the first two matches at the 2018 World Cup. The Blazers upset the odds, as they were +300 underdogs to beat Argentina, whilst the match was finished in the over of the total of 2.5 goals at +125.
Croatia completely deserved the victory over the defending vice-champions, but they were also pretty lucky to earn three points against a +110 favorite in this clash. In the first half, both sides had a couple of excellent opportunities to break the deadlock, and in the 30th minute, Enzo Perez ruined the best opportunity for Argentina, missing the empty net from inside the box. The goalless first half certainly satisfied the bettors who wagered on a draw at the halftime at +100.
The crucial moment of the match happened in the 53rd minute when Argentina’s goalie Wilfredo Caballero made an incomprehensible mistake, trying to pass the ball, but he just left it to Ante Rebic who caught a beautiful volley to make it 1-0. From this point on, Argentina’s game completely falls apart, and in the 80th minute, Luka Modric doubled the lead with a brilliant strike from about 25 yards. The third goal came in the injury time, as Ivan Rakitic finished the furious counter-attack.
Until Caballero’s mistake, this match could go either way, so the bettors who wagered on Lionel Messi and co. at +110 are certainly disappointed, while the clash deservedly went in the over of the total of 2.5 goals at +125 as we saw plenty of chances on both sides of the pitch. Argentina had the ball on their feet for 58% of the time, while Croatia waited for counter-attacks. The Blazers took 15 shots on goal, five on target, and five more than their rival who had only three shots on target.
Croatia is already in the Round of 16, but the Blazers will certainly want to stay on the top of the Group D. They meet Iceland as +130 favorites in the final match of the group stage, while the odds on Croatia to win the title in Russia are set at +1400 on BetDSI Sportsbook. Argentina will wait for tomorrow’s game between Iceland and Nigeria to see what they’ll need in the last clash with Nigeria to eventually qualify for the last 16, while the wages are at +137 to see Lionel Messi in the knock-out phase of the 2018 World Cup.
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