MOSCOW – Croatia have created history by thrashing Argentina 3-0 and entering the knockout phase of this year’s FIFA World Cup.
Goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have given Croatia a big win over Argentina, who now face an uphill task in trying to stay alive in the race for the next round.
This is Argentina’s heaviest loss in the league stages of the World Cup since 1958.
Argentina are no longer in control of their own destiny. This defeat follows their opening 1-1 draw with Iceland, in which Messi missed a penalty, and now even a heavy win over Nigeria in their final game on Tuesday may not be enough to send them through to the next round.
Should Iceland beat Nigeria in their second Group D game on Friday, Iceland would need only a draw against Croatia in their final match.
Argentina are without a win in their past four World Cup games (D2 L2), their longest such run in the competition.
For Messi, a prolific performer at club level with Barcelona, this was another harrowing chapter in his recent history of pain and disappointment in the international game.
This was Croatia’s joint second biggest World Cup victory; they beat Cameroon 4-0 in 2014 and Germany 3-0 in 1998.
This is only the second time Croatia have won their opening two games at a World Cup, after the 1998 tournament that saw them reach the semi-finals.