2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: Argentina vs Croatia

Embed from Getty Images

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Argentina got off to a disappointing result in their 2018 FIFA World Cup opener, as they settled for a 1-1 draw against Iceland. Things won’t get any easier for La Albiceleste, however, as they will square against a top-quality Croatia side this Thursday. The Balkan side are coming off a decent win in their debut against Nigeria, and they will enter this game knowing that a win would practically qualify them for the next round. Game kicks off at 19:00 hrs (BST) at Nizhni Novgorod Stadium.


Few managers in the 2018 World Cup are under the pressure Jorge Sampaoli is enduring right now. The former Chile and Sevilla tactician has been heavily criticised after the tournament opener against Iceland, to the point that legend Diego Armando Maradona said the team “lacked planning” and that Sampaoli “shouldn’t be allowed to return to Argentina” following that result. With that in mind, Argentina are bound to make a few changes to the side in order to maximize the team’s performance. But if there is one player that needs to improve, that’s Lionel Messi. The team goes as he goes, and he delivered an underwhelming performance that included a missed penalty kick that would have changed the outcome of the game. If he can perform better, then we can see Argentina getting a better result – and performance – in comparison to their debut.

Team News

As slated above, Argentina will probably make a few changes to the side. Gabriel Mercado, Cristian Pavon and Ever Banega are all expected to start in place of Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Lucas Biglia, respectively.

No injured or suspended players ahead of this game.


Croatia delivered an impressive performance in their World Cup debut, and had no problems to defeat Nigeria by a comfortable 2-0 score so they have the top option to enter the knockout stages. In fact, a win against Argentina could potentially qualify them to the next round if other results go their way. But one thing that needs to be clear is that Croatia need to deliver a better performance than the one they had against Nigeria. Playing against The Super Eagles is one thing, but facing Argentina and their squad filled with world-class players is another completely different one. The deadly quartet of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic need to be at their best if they want to upset Argentina. But if we take their debut against Nigeria as a reference, then the team is on the right path. They looked quite solid on both ends of the pitch in their tournament opener.

Team News

Croatia do not have any injured players, as the entire squad is fit and available.

However, they will continue the tournament with only 22 players after Nikola Kalinic was sent back home. The AC Milan striker did not want to enter in the final minutes against Nigeria, and the manager punished him as a result.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Both sides have kept three clean sheets in their past six matches.
  • Defence might be a problem for Argentina, though. In their last ten matches, Croatia have conceded eight goals while La Albiceleste have conceded 13.
  • Six of Argentina’s last ten matches have finished with 2.5 goals or less. The same outcome has happened in eight of Croatia’s last 10.
  • Lionel Messi scored a goal the last time these two sides met, back in 2014.
  • Both teams have a W3, D1, L2 in their past six matches. Both sides have a zero goal differential over that span as well.


This should be a very open game. Both teams have a lot of talent on the attacking end, and both feature absences on defence as well.

As a result, expect this contest to be quite attacking. And we could definitively see over 2.5 goals scored.

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

1 Comment on 2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: Argentina vs Croatia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.