Croatia and Argentina met in Nizhny Novgorod for the second match of Group D in the World Cup.
The duel between Croatia and Argentina was the most anticipated and toughest match of Group D in the World Cup.
The first half of the match saw quality opportunities on both sides. An unlucky Perišić almost led Croatia in the 5th minute although Argentina’s goalkeeper Caballero made an incredible save to keep the game 0:0. Lovren blocked a shot from Messi shortly after, and Brozović shot in the 21st. A brilliant cross from Vrsaljko saw a Mandžukić header barely miss the goal in the 33rd. At the end of the first half, a perfect through ball by Modrić found an open Rebić who hit over the post. The half ended 0:0.
Croatia came out even harder in the second half. While both sides continued to ferociously attack, it was a catastrophic mistake by Argentina’s goalkeeper that found the boot of Ante Rebić who hit an incredible volley to put Croatia in the lead in the 53rd minute! Croatia’s hero was then substituted for Andrej Kramarić minutes later.
Subašić’s excellent goalkeeping proceeded to stop chances by Argentina and Mandžukić had another missed opportunity in front of the goal in the 66th.
Croatia continued to play smart and waited for the game to open, though Argentina’s Dybala had a chance that just flew over the post in the 71st.
Croatia continued to press and Argentina began to lose momentum – and in the 81st minute, it was an unbelievable 20-meter strike by Croatia captain Luka Modrić for a 2:0 Croatia lead! What. A. Goal.
In the 85th minute, Argentina’s Otamendi was booked for a horrific play on Rakitić, who hit a free kick to the post which could have been 3:0…
But then it happened.
An incredible tease by Mateo Kovačić and Ivan Rakitić in Argentina’s box saw yet another goal by Croatia. The game ended 3:0, and Croatia had achieved what many thought wildly impossible.
Congratulations to Croatia – the dreams of 1998 don’t look so far out of reach now…