CAN FORGIVENESS WORK HERE!?
Willy Caballero’s clanger presented Ante Rebic with an opportunity he could not refuse, and Croatia rolled on to a stunning 3-0 victory over Argentina that sent them into the last 16 of the World Cup.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side produced an abysmal second-half display that severely damages their hopes of following Croatia out of Group D, with Caballero’s stray pass to Gabriel Mercado that was volleyed home by Rebic in the 53rd minute proving the turning point.
All eyes were on Lionel Messi before the game after his saved penalty in the South Americans’ opening 1-1 draw with Iceland and, once again, he was a shadow of the player that has starred for Barcelona.
Ivan Perisic surged into space down the left and cracked a shot towards the bottom-right corner, which was superbly tipped around the post by Caballero – only starting in Russia due to a knee injury for regular number one Sergio Romero.
Key Opta stats: – This was Argentina’s heaviest defeat in the first-round group stages of a World Cup tournament since losing 6-1 to Czechoslovakia in 1958.- Ante Rebic’s goal was only his second for Croatia, and his first since August 2013 in a friendly against Liechtenstein.- Argentina have failed to win either of their opening two group stage matches for the first time since 1974.- Argentina are now winless in their last four World Cup games (D2 L2), their longest ever such run in the competition.- Argentina forward Lionel Messi has had more shots than any other player so far at this World Cup (12) but has failed to score with any of them.