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Argentina was a favorite to beat Croatia after the disappointing performance against Iceland at the start of the World Cup, but the Croatians upset them with a huge 3-0 victory at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday, June 21. Argentina failed to cover the -0.5 spread, while the game went over 2.5 goals. Zlatko Dalic’s side secured their place in the Round of 16 as they are at the top of the group with six points and will face Iceland in the final round, while Jorge Sampaoli’s team is facing elimination as they have just a point out of the first two games.
The clash started with a couple of opportunities on each side as Ivan Perisic and Maximiliano Meza missed solid chances to score, but the golden one was Enzo Perez’s who somehow managed to miss an empty net in the 30th minute. Only three minutes later Mario Mandzukic has a great chance as he climbs highest deep in the penalty box and strikes a powerful header towards the net, but his effort ends wide of the left post.
The first half ended without goals, but the Blazers were the ones to open up the scoring after a disastrous mistake from Willy Caballero who literally gifted Ante Rebic a free volley which Frankfurt’s forward took and made it 1-0 for Croatia. Ten minutes after, Meza missed a good opportunity and it remained 1-0 for the Blazers until the 80th minute when Luka Modric latches on to a superb pass and breaks through the defense before firing a shot from mid-range that goes past the goalkeeper inside the right post and it was 2-0.
Ivan Rakitic hit the crossbar from the free-kick in the 87th minute and when Argentina went all-in to score, the Croatians hit them on the break and Rakitic tapped the ball into an empty net in the 91st minute. The Blazers won 3-0 and the punters who backed Croatia at +300 made a big profit, while three goals helped those who bet over 2.5 goals at +135.
The odds on Croatia to win the World Cup can be found at +1400, which means that the Blazers are considered as one of the candidates out of the shadow to lift the trophy, while they are -142 to reach the quarter-finals. On the other hand, Argentina is now +3500 to win the World Cup, while the Albiceleste is +400 to go to the quarter-finals.