World Cup 2018: Best and Worst of Match Day 2 – Group D

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Argentina on the brink.

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What Happened

Croatia produced a remarkable performance to defeat Argentina 3-0, leaving the South American heavyweights on the brink of elimination. Three second half strikes earned Croatia a well deserved victory with defensive frailties and a goalkeeping howler letting Argentina down. Meanwhile Ahmed Musa’s brace helped Nigeria bounce back after a first round loss with the African’s now in with a chance of making the round of 16. The Leicester City front-man had too much pace for the usually organised Icelandic defence who were unable to reply, losing the match 2-0.

Stand Out Performers

  1. Luka Modric. The man oozes quality. Alongside Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, Modric form’s one of the most dominant central midfield partnerships in the tournament. If the two continue to link up Croatia could make serious inroads in Russia.

2. Ahmed Musa. Linked up beautifully with club team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho causing a huge amount of trouble with mobility, pace and directness. Two goals also helped his cause.

3. Lucy Zelic. Copped a huge amount of unfair criticism in relation to her correct pronunciation of foreign players. A knowledgeable, quality journalist and true footballing fan, she is a credit to SBS, Les Murray and Australian football.

Talking Points

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Is this is for Messi? The little genius recently turned 31 and has already retired once from international duty. If Argentina fail to produce on the International stage yet again, one wonders if we’ll ever see Messi on the World stage again.

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What it Means

Croatia are qualified but sensationally, all teams are still in with a chance to advance into the round of 16. Argentina will need to beat Nigeria by more than one goal and hope Croatia do them a favour by either beating or drawing against the mighty thunderclap of Iceland.

Needs Work

Argentina. This was Argentina’s heaviest defeat in the first round of group stages of a World Cup tournament since losing 6-1 to the Czechoslovakia in 1958. They need to find form and quickly if they’re going to even make it out of the group.

Whats Next

St. Petersburg and Rostov-On-Don play host to the final matches of Group D with kick off to occur simultaneously. Could this be the last time we see Lionel Messi play at a World Cup?

Goal of the Day

Modric. No question. The Real Madrid maestro was played a square ball by Brozovic, he took a well placed touch before thumping a perfectly placed right-footed shot that curled into the right side of the goal. Pure class.

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Miss of the Day

Willy Caballero. Chelsea’s second choice keeper looked every bit a reserve keeper as he miscued directly into the path of Ante Rebic who made no mistake in giving Croatia the lead. The error summed up Argentina’s World Cup so far and sent social media into meltdown.

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Connor Gibbons
Football fan and digital communications officer following Perth Glory during the 2017/2018 A-League season.